Updated Mon, Aug 11, 2014 4:51 pm
Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks our reporters will be bringing you team previews for each team in the SEOAL, TVC-Ohio, TVC-Hocking, and our West Virginia teams. We begin in the SEOAL, where with only five teams in the conference, the competition is always tough.
Riffe has been a teacher at Gallia Academy since 2009, and was the offensive coordinator for the Blue Devils under former coach Mike Eddy from 2009-2011. He then took over the offense for the Meigs Marauders under coach Mike Bartum for the past two seasons.
“I’ve been lucky in the past to coach under some really good head coaches.” Riffe said. “They kind of gave me some leadership roles both places so that I have the opportunity to grow into a head coach.”
Riffe feels ready to take the helm for the Blue Devils, and already has a strong connection with the team.
“Most of the players I’ve either had in class or years before.” Riffe said. “It’s a pretty easy transition for me actually.”
The players are used to this kind of change. Riffe is the third head coach in the past five years and this year’s seniors have met and played for each one.
“We’ve had three new head coaches so it’s nothing different.” Free safety Blake Wilson said. “We’ve had coaches come through, but we’ve always played together.”
Another change Galia faces is the loss of a few key players, the biggest being that of quarterback and 2012 Gridiron Glory Player of the Year, Wade Jarrell. The team also lost big-time playmakers in wide receivers Logan Allison and Reid Eastman
The team isn’t left powerless though. Jarrel’s younger brother Wes is a linebacker and wide receiver on the team and shows great promise. Kole Carter, a left-handed junior, will most likely start as the new quarterback, and he has plenty of playing experience.
“We’re blessed to have had a guy who has been backup for two years.” Riffe said of Carter. “He kind of just stepped right into the role and I think he’s done a great job [so far].”
Senior tailback, Eli Miller is another talented returning player and one of the leaders on the team. He has high hopes for the upcoming season.
“I think personally we have a lot better coach [in Riffe],” Miller said. “The team chemistry is a lot better then it has been in recent years.”
The Blue Devils posted a 5-5 overall record and finished 1-3 in the SEOAL during the 2013 season under former head coach Wade Bartholomew. The team is confident coach Riffe will lead them to even greater success.
“He’s just a lot better leader then all the other coaches.” Miller said. “He really rallies us together and makes us a better team.”
Gallia Academy opens the 2014 season kicking off against the Athens Bulldogs on Aug. 29.
'Gridiron Glory' returns on Friday, Aug. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #gridglory.