Royal Oak High football optimistic about its future

By: Christian Davis | Royal Oak Review | Published September 7, 2011

 Royal Oak High senior running back Nolan Jones looks to get by the Troy High defenders Sept. 1 at home. The Ravens lost 56-20.

Royal Oak High senior running back Nolan Jones looks to get by the Troy High defenders Sept. 1 at home. The Ravens lost 56-20.

Photo by Andrew Potter

ROYAL OAK— Royal Oak High senior David McPherson knows the struggles of the football program as well as anyone.

As a four-year varsity member, McPherson went through his prep career without a win, but that all changed Aug. 25 against St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

In front of their home crowd and leading by one, McPherson and a host of Ravens stopped a 2-point conversion with just over 20 seconds remaining in the game.

“I just got up and saw our side going wild,” McPherson remembered. “I knew it wasn’t over yet until the clock said zero, but we got the onside kick, took a knee and won.”

The victory ended a streak of 28 straight losses.

“Just hearing people tell us going into that week that we were going to lose, and then to come out in the end like the way we did, it was great,” McPherson said.

At press time, the Ravens were 1-1 after falling to Troy High 56-20 Sept. 1 at home.

Royal Oak returns seven starters on both sides of the ball, but has a new coach in Jeff Hill.

Hill coached at Milford High last season and has a personal reason why he wants to turn the Ravens program around.

“Just being a coach in Royal Oak is a great opportunity. I’ve lived in this community my whole life,” the 1991 Royal Oak Dondero graduate said.

Hill added that he was happy the players don’t have to deal with that streak anymore.

“These kids, it’s something they’ve wanted to get off their back. They’ve been living with it for three years,” he said.

In order to add to that win total, Hill said, it’s going to take attention to detail and hard work.

“As we tell the kids, it’s brick by brick, day by day, practice by practice. Every time we step on the field, we have to get better, and the only way to do that is consistency,” he said.

Hill noted that he saw the hardnosed football he’s looking for against Lake Shore.

“There were mistakes, but the kids played hard and fought through the challenges as they arose throughout the game,” he said. “That’s what I want the community to say, ‘Those kids work hard and play hard all the time.’”

McPherson said he can feel a shift in the culture already.

“We want to win; we’re hungry for another win,” he said. “We don’t want just that one. The seniors want to show that our class can do it all.”