Rutherford rolls through opening week with optimistic outlook
Coming off a disappointing season, new Rutherford head coach Loren Tillman is aiming to recreate a winning atmosphere.
Tillman graduated from Rutherford in 1989. He was previously the head coach at Wewahitchka and Bozeman, but now he's home again.
After finish 1-9 under Rob Armstrong in 2016, there's some work to be done, but plenty of key pieces are in place.
Dual-threat quarterbacks KD Heard and Brannon Richardson return, as does wide receiver Trevon Sims. Running backs James Caldwell and Montell Bouie are back as well.
Starting in spring and continuing through fall, the coaches have been adjusting the game plan to better suit the talents of those players.
"Probably the most experience is across the offensive front. That's where we've got most of our returners," Tillman said. "We feel like we've got a lot of knowledge and a lot of game minutes on the offensive front so we can actually evaluate our blocking schemes. It is different from what they've done, but they've bought in and they're doing a great job."
"You have to lay the concrete before you can build the walls and put the roof on, and that's really where we were in the spring," Tillman added. "We gave them a lot of stuff in the spring to learn and we feel like they did a great job of learning that. In the summer, we were able to build on that."
Numbers are up this year for the Rams as well, contributing to preseason positivity. About 36 players will fill up the varsity roster, with 40 beginning practice on the junior varsity squad next week.
Rutherford's preseason classic is scheduled against Bozeman on August 18th, with the regular season opener coming one week later on August 25th against North Bay Haven.