Although it is his first season, Hamilton Township High School football coach Nate Hillerich has already changed the way things are done on the field.

Although it is his first season, Hamilton Township High School football coach Nate Hillerich has already changed the way things are done on the field.

Last year, the Rangers had just 30 players in grades 10-12, and that number has nearly doubled to 59.

Hillerich also has brought new offensive and defensive styles to the Rangers, who went 0-10 overall and 0-7 in the MSL-Buckeye Division last season.

Hillerich was an assistant the last two seasons under former coach Bob Jacoby, who resigned after three years to coach at Hamilton in the Cincinnati area.

"We've changed our style on both sides of the ball," Hillerich said. "Defensively, we're more of an attacking defense this year, and we're going to bring pressure every play."

Last season the Rangers sat back and waited for opponents to make a mistake, according to Hillerich. This season they are looking to attack defensively and create turnovers.

The defense is not the only change Hillerich has implemented.

"Last year we ran the triple-option," he said. "But we've moved away from that. We run a pro-style offense now."

The focus still will be the running game, though, which will be led by senior co-captain Josh Frakes (5-foot-11, 195 pounds).

Frakes said the change in coaches has led to a new attitude.

"Coach [Hillerich] is great. We love playing for him," he said. "He's a lot more intense and always stays positive. He just brings a great winning attitude."

Jacob Gifford, a co-captain and wide receiver, also believes coach Hillerich's new attitude has produced immediate changes.

"We've already shown change in how we go out there and play," the 6-3, 175-pound senior said. "In our passing scrimmages and practices, it's just different."

Lining up at quarterback will be senior Meshawn Hairston (6-2, 175). Anchoring the offensive line will be senior Jacob Lemaster (6-2, 269) and junior Brandon Hedges (5-10, 236).

Leading the defense will the linebacking corps of senior captain Mitch Horlocker (6-2, 220), senior Michael Peck (5-11, 217) and junior Ashton Evans (5-10, 210).

Leaders on the line will be senior Chris Settles (6-2, 260) and junior Logan Carter (5-10, 259).

Gifford and senior James White (5-9, 179) are mainstays in the secondary.

The increase in the size of the roster has bolstered depth, and Hillerich is planning to limit two-way players, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

Keeping players fresher should help the Rangers be more competitive in the MSL-Buckeye - a league in which the top three teams last season all reached the playoffs. Amanda-Clearcreek (7-0), Canal Winchester (6-1) and Logan Elm (5-2) were followed by Fairfield Union (4-3), Teays Valley (3-4), Circleville (2-5), Bloom-Carroll (1-6) and the Rangers (0-7).

"Every week in the league is a tough game," Hillerich said. "It's a very physical league and we've got to be a physical team to have a chance to compete."

Even though the Rangers were winless a year ago, Hillerich and his players still take high expectations into the season.

"We have individual goals such as do your responsibility every play, but as a team we only have one goal and that's to win," Horlocker said.

The Rangers have not posted a winning season since going 7-3 in 2003. Since then they have gone 14-46, with the highlight being Jacoby's first two seasons when the team went 5-5 both years.

However, the Rangers also have had two 0-10 seasons and a 1-9 year in that stretch.

While Hillerich understands the difficulty of the schedule, he also believes in his team.

"Our expectations are very high," Hillerich said. "We want to win the league or we'll consider it a disappointment."

A 16-player senior class that has seen many more highs than lows in its three years is one of the reasons for the optimism.

"We changed the attitude here," Hillerich said. "We hold our kids accountable for what they do, but we're still having fun."