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Good attitude, hard work will help Rams move forward PHOTOS

  • Action photos by Samantha Elliott

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After a winless 2013, the only thing you can do is focus on improvements, and thats exactly what the Flat Rock football team is doing this season.

Were just working on getting better every day, Coach Tom Oestrike said. Thats pretty much all we can do is focus on that.

We cant look too far ahead; were just gonna keep going day by day and get better.

The Rams are focusing on playing together as a tight knit team and already have some close competitions within the squad.

We could have the ability to start five seniors up front on the offensive line, Oestrike said. We have a couple juniors that are pushing those guys.

We have a lot of competition on the offense and defense, which is really good.

Taking care of things at quarterback this season us Justin Roberts. The junior got in some reps last year before suffering an injury, but Oestrike said his hard work in the offseason is paying off.

He had a really good summer and hes probably the fastest kid on the team, he said. Were looking for a little bit more leadership out of him.

Erik Antolak (6-2, 250) is expected to lead the lineman this season and also play tackle.

Sophomore Dontel Hampton is what Oestrike calls one of the best football players on the team and will lead as a captain this season from the tailback position.

Hes a real good leader, Oestrike said. Hes just a real hard worker (and) hes shown a lot of promise.

Connor Harris will be receiving and also play some tailback.

He was a good receiver for us last year and did a lot of good things, Oestrike said. Were looking for big things from him on the offense.

Offensive lineman Robert Salter returns to the center and will also lead in a captain role and Oestrike expects a big season from the senior.

Defensively, the Rams have some key guys expected to contribute.

New this season is senior Alan Talley (6-0, 210), holding another role as captain.

He s a really hard worker, Oestrike said. He came in and is really kind of a kid that we were missing last year.

Hes just a real tough kid and definitely the vocal leader of our team. hes a great team-committed guy and a guy like that is what we were missing last year.

Sophomore Garrett Osborne is also showing a lot of potential and freshman Noah Zarbaugh is improving everyday at linebacker.

Junior Carter Rice (6-5, 185) has also worked hard during the offseason and is expected to contribute from several different spots throughout the season.

Also returning is defensive end Tracy Akers. The senior got some reps in last season, before getting hurt early on, but Oestrike expects a good season for 2014.

Hes somebody that we need to get healthy, he said. Were hoping that he plays to his potential. Well feel really good about what hes gonna bring to the table.

Oestrike said the biggest thing with his team is moving forward and overcoming the adversity and hes thrilled with the attitude of his team.

I really like the way the kids are responding after last year, he said. I really think they believe we can win games and be successful (and) after the season we had last year, its hard to buy into that, but theyre buying into hard work and theyre buying into the team approach.

Oestrike said he is happy with having a team full of guys who prove they wont give up.

A lot of our kids last year had to overcome a lot of adversity, he said. Im really happy that they chose to come back and work hard and not quit and thats gonna help us early in the season because every team does go through adversity.

Our kids; they have seem some tough adversity, so theres not a lot that they havent seen or been through.

The Rams open against Riverview Gabriel Richard on Thursday.

Last Updated: 8/26/2014 7:38:00 PM EST