New head coach Rodney Roberts will be pulling double debut duty when the Centerville High School football program kicks off this coming season. He’ll also help christen the inaugural season-opening Premier Health Backyard Blitz.
Flyin’ to the Hoop creator Eric Horstman has expanded his showman skills to high school football with the debut of the Blitz, a two-game showcase that will feature host Centerville and Pickerington Central against out-of-state powers on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Centerville Stadium.
Pick Central will play Goose Creek (S.C.) at 4 p.m., followed by Centerville vs. Glenbard North (Ill.) at 8 p.m. Those times were chosen so as not to interfer with Ohio State University’s noon opener that day against Navy.
It’ll also serve as Roberts’ first game as the Elks’ head coach. He succeeds Ron Ullery, who was not retained after 14 seasons. Ullery has since landed as an assistant at Springboro.
Both Goose Creek and North are nationally ranked public school programs and are in their states’ largest divisions. It’ll be the first meetings between the four programs. Centerville beat visiting Central 38-33 in a Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown season opener last season.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Roberts, who was joined by Horstman, Central coach Jay Sharrett and Centerville city officials during a press conference Tuesday at Miami Valley Hospital South to tout the event.
“Obviously, Glenbard North is going to be a tough task for us. Centerville football and the tradition that it is, we’re used to playing on that big stage, too. It’s something that we expect to do and we’re going to continue that tradition.”
Both Centerville and Central opted out of the Showdown to participate in the Blitz’s debut. Horstman said Centerville also is committed to hosting an expanded four-game Blitz field next year. Those 2015 season openers would feature one Friday game and a Saturday tripleheader.
Horstman has built Flyin’ into a nationally recognized boys basketball tournament during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. He estimated Flyin’ annually brings in $2 million to the Miami Valley. His goal is to do the same with the Blitz.
“Over the years, I’ve heard constantly, ‘Hey, when are you going to do something for football?’” he said. “Like the Flyin’ to the Hoop tournament, if you build it, they will come. We’re going to start off small but make sure we do things right and first class because we plan on staying around for a long time.”
Premier Health also is a major Flyin’ sponsor. General tickets are $7 for each game or $12 for both. Tickets are available at Centerville High School, Centerville Frickers or oneline at TheBackyardBlitz.com.