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Royal Oak

Royal Oak High football believes turnaround in sight

September 12, 2012

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Royal Oak High’s Justin Unger reaches to cross the goal line against Auburn Hills Avondale Sept. 7 at home. The Ravens lost 53-22.

ROYAL OAK — It’s a number that lingers over the Royal Oak High football program.

The Ravens have won one game since 2008 and were 0-3 at press time, but senior lineman Tyler Beerer and the rest of the Ravens believe the momentum is starting to change.

“Every day, like coach says, we have to chop the wood. You can’t just take down a tree with one swing of the axe. It takes time. We’ve seen that from the beginning of spring last year. Everyone knows what they’re doing, and it’s time to get stronger and work together as a team,” Beerer said.

Coach Ryan Irish is in his first season as head coach after being an assistant for the Ravens last season.

He’s measuring victories by small steps, knowing that in time they’ll equal big gains.

“Realistically, the positive is that this program has come a long way from where we were even last year with kids’ commitments to the program,” Irish said. “Today’s society is about instant gratification, and that’s hard, because football really isn’t like that. … In football, you have to fail to figure out, ‘Hey, I can’t do that. I have to do that.’”

Irish points to encouraging signs, like having freshmen, JV and varsity teams. Meaning freshmen that may have been backups at the JV level are now getting game action.

“I eventually think, overall, that’s going to pay dividends for our program,” he said. “I think that’s important because our kids are playing football. Now, are we good at football? That’s why we are here, to try and get better every day.”

Another positive is moving the locker room. In years past, the Ravens geared up literally on the opposite side of campus from the football field. Now, they gather next to the field in a converted storage shed.

“It’s definitely the best thing this year,” Beerer said with a smile. “To have our pads near the field is definitely a bonus. Last year, we had to walk all the way across the school, and that just takes time and effort, and really just wastes valuable practice time.”

The Ravens moved to the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division this season after competing with larger schools in the OAA Red since 2007.

Irish knows losing has taken a toll, but wholeheartedly believes the seeds of victory have been planted.

“I have to give credit to the parents and to the kids that say, ‘Hey, we made a commitment. We’re sticking it out.’ We all want to win. We’re all working to win. … Every day we keep telling ourselves that we have to get better.”


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