Paine College coach Greg Ruffin gives return of football an 'A'

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Paine coach Greg Ruffin gives the resurrection of the football program a top grade.

The Lions play their season finale Saturday, facing Jireh Prep at 2 p.m. at Laney Memorial Stadium. The contest marks the end of the school’s first campaign after bringing back football following a 51-year absence.

It’s been a busy year for Paine. In March, the school announced Ruffin as its head coach at a news conference. Since then, he brought in a coaching staff, recruited 161 players, added a locker room, converted an old building into a weight room and added coaches offices. And Ruffin’s fielded a team that’s gone 2-1 in its club season.

“I’d give it an ‘A’,” Ruffin said of his third rebuilding job in his coaching tenure. “I have far more resources than I’ve had in the past. I think the community is behind it, even though I think the perception was ‘Can they pull it off’? I think everybody knows now we more than pulled it off. It’s

Paine is in position to finish its first season with a winning record after defeating Orangeburg Calhoun Prep, 39-0.

Ruffin made an adjustment in Saturday’s game when he noticed his opponent moved its safety out of the middle of the field. He switched his offense from a planned running attack to a five-receiver set.

“I folded my game plan up and put it in my back pocket,” he said.

Quarterback Loranzo Hammonds threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another. Austin Beamus added seven catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. And the offense could have scored four more touchdowns if not for various miscues, Ruffin said.

“It just tells you we really have a chance to be explosive offensively,” Ruffin said. “We’ve just made some first-year mistakes.”

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