2019 Football Preview: Royal Oak High

2018 Record: 5-4

By: C & G Sports Staff | Royal Oak Review | Published July 22, 2019

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Last season’s record: 5-4

League: Oakland Activities Association Blue Division

Returning starters: Seven

First game: 7 p.m. Aug. 29 vs. St. Claire Shores Lakeview

Offensive keys: 

If the Royal Oak offensive attack is to have success this season, coach Ray McMann said the quarterback position is going to have to take a step forward. While Hunter Gibson is the lead right now, Stephen Metcalfe and Ryan Buckheim have also been fighting for the job and taking snaps in practice.

Another skill-position player being counted on is running back Earle Weaver. Weaver rushed for over 800 yards in six games played last season.

“We want to see more of what he can do,” McMann said.

Alongside Weaver in the backfield is Jayden Hakkany, who will also play a prominent role in the offense

“The keys are going to be ball security,” McMann said. “Keeping track of where everybody is and making sure we hold on to the football. We’re going to make mistakes, but let’s not make fumbles or interceptions because we’re lazy.”

Defensive keys:

Last season, the Ravens allowed 165 points all season, marking the fourth lowest in program history. McMann said his team’s aggressiveness is what allowed for that to happen, and he wants to see the same tenacity this season.

“Coach (Dan) Mastrovito does a great job as the defensive coordinator,” McMann said. “He always says 11 hats to the ball, so we’ve got to make sure that we don’t accept anything less than that in practice, so it comes as second nature in the games.”

Defensive end James Haser, linebackers Hayden Costanzo and Dylan Knode, along with Metcalfe at safety are all expected to play pivotal roles.

Coach’s outlook:

The OAA Blue is a tough league top to bottom in McMann’s eyes, and the team can’t enter any given game thinking it’s an automatic win. He said the team is cautiously optimistic as it approaches the new season. 

“Making the playoffs the year before, I think some of the kids were expecting that would happen again,” McMann said. “Going 5-4 last year and missing the playoffs, that left a taste in their mouth after making it that they want to get back. I think the focus has been there.”


Schedule:

vs. St. Clair Shores Lakeview (7-4) — 7 p.m. Aug. 29
The Ravens and Huskies have opened the season each year since 2016. Last season, Lakeview came away with the 21-9 win.

at Farmington High (8-4) — 7 p.m. Sept. 6
The Falcons made a run last season that went all the way to a Division 1 regional final, where they fell to DeWitt High. Despite a loss to Farmington last season, the Ravens lead the all-time series 3-2.

at Berkley High (2-7) — 7 p.m. Sept. 13
Royal Oak handled the Bears 37-0. The Ravens could even up the all-time series with a win this year. 

vs. Auburn Hills Avondale (7-3) — 7 p.m. Sept. 20
The Yellow Jackets made the playoffs for the second straight year in 2018. Avondale has proved to be a tough task for Royal Oak, winning all five of their meetings.

at Southgate Anderson (3-6) — 7 p.m. Sept. 27
This will be the first matchup between the two schools. Southgate has had just one winning season since 2012.

vs. North Farmington (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 4
The Raiders doubled their offensive point totals from 2017 to 2018. However, in last season’s loss to Royal Oak, North Farmington only managed one touchdown in a 14-7 loss.

at Pontiac High (1-8) — 7 p.m. Oct. 11
Over the past three seasons, Pontiac is 3-24 overall. In 2017 — the last time these programs met — Royal Oak won 42-6.

vs. Ferndale High (7-3) — 7 p.m. Oct 18
When these teams last met in 2017, the Eagles put up their second-highest point total of the season, beating the Ravens 42-31. Royal Oak does lead the all-time series 3-2.

at Flint Kearsley (3-6) — 7 p.m. Oct. 25
The Hornets have been in a playoff drought and have not seen the postseason since 1998. Since that time, they have had just two winning seasons. 

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