Paine coach Greg Ruffin sees an opportunity in today’s season finale.
The Lions (2-1) close out their four-game club schedule with a 2 p.m. tilt against Jireh Prep at Laney Memorial Stadium.
With a win, Paine will enter the offseason with a winning record, something it can build on as it prepares for its move to NCAA Division II football next year.
“I just want to end what’s been a great year for this institution on a positive note,” Ruffin said. “I want to get some momentum leading into spring football.”
The Lions wrapped fall practice this week. Though Paine is done for the rest of 2013, Ruffin said he’ll keep the weight room open for his players. Off-season conditioning will begin in January, he added.
While Ruffin will shift his focus to recruiting, his players will have time to devote their full attention to the classroom. Paine has five more weeks until the fall semester ends.
“We’re going to press on them and make sure they get done what they need to academically,” Ruffin said. “We’ve got to seal the deal academically and get them to the next semester.”
Jireh Prep of Matthews, N.C., features a prolific passer in Randy Schroeder. In his senior year at SouthLake Christian Academy in 2012, he threw for 3,587 yards in 12 games.
“He’s good,” Ruffin said. “We’re going to have to get a pass rush this week. He can’t throw it when he’s on his back.”
Jireh Prep will try to speed the game up with its no-huddle offense. Paine will counter with quarterback Loranzo Hammonds and its run-by-committee attack.
“We’re going to make sure we run ball-control so we can keep them off the field,” Ruffin said. “We don’t want our defense to stay out there a long time and get tired.”