ROCHELLE — Brad Metzger has been coaching Rochelle Junior Tackle football for 13 years, but his competitive spirit hasn’t wavered one bit. Metzger has taken over for Ben Manning as head coach of the RJT eighth-graders this season, and after his group finished 6-2 as seventh-graders last year, Metzger and his coaching staff are looking to continue winning games this year.
“It’s exciting to have a different group of kids every year,” Metzger said. “The groups can be very different year by year and it’s fun and a challenge to put teams together. We have a great group of kids this year… I’ve known some of these kids since they were 6 or 7 years old so I’m looking forward to the season.”
The eighth-graders held their first practice of the season at Helms Park on Monday. Blocking and tackling were the areas of focus, and as the eighth-graders progress toward their first game of the season against Princeton, who won the Big 14 Conference last year, Metzger said the goal for he and his players will be to not look too far ahead and work one day at a time. Rochelle and Princeton will square off at Helms Park on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 11:30 a.m.
“We have a big, physical line,” Metzger said. “We have some good, nifty backs as well so I think we should be able to compete. I told the kids that we’re not going to look at the big picture, but I also challenged them to work as hard as they can during each play and take the game one play at a time. I’m a pretty competitive guy so winning is definitely in my vocabulary.”