kicks off the 2012 football season a day earlier than expected with a home game against at 7 p.m. on Friday.
The game, originally scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, was moved down Route 355 due to not-yet-completed construction on Gaithersburg’s stadium.
The Rockets are anxious to improve on a .500 record in 2011. With a veteran roster—and maybe an upset—head coach Neal Owens said he expects RM to contend for a playoff berth.
Rockville Patch: You're coming off a 5-5 season in 2011, Richard Montgomery's best record since the 2006 season. What was behind the improvement last season and what do you hope carries over to 2012 with your returning players?
Coach Neal Owens: It's really all about just putting the players in a position to succeed. We (the coaches) have really just made it very clear what our goals and expectations are and the guys just fell right into line and are doing everything we ask of them.
Patch: Despite the strong showing, the team lacked consistency, falling to 1-3 and 3-4 before winning two straight to head into the final week of the regular season at 5-4. What do you need to do this season to improve your consistency and maybe avoid some of the losing streaks and blowout losses that were costly in 2011?
Owens: We were very young last year and were coming off losing 29 straight games. We were a little inconsistent, but we were improving all season and that is really our goal. I think the biggest obstacle at the start of last season was that we just didn't know how to win. Now we do.
Patch: Montgomery 4A West was one of the most competitive divisions in 2011. What do you need to do to remain competitive for a playoff berth in 2012?
Owens: 4A West is a great division and there are a bunch of teams that could make a run behind QO this year. The biggest thing we need to do is win a game that no one expects us to. We start with Gaithersburg, Poolesville, Clarksburg and Wootton and I am not sure people are looking at us to win any of those games, but to make a run, we need to go at least 2-2 or better in that stretch.
Patch: Who are some key players to watch this season? What players did you lose and need to fill a void in the lineup? Who do you see stepping up in those roles?
Owens: We have 19 seniors this year, and they all lead. Marcelo Villatoro, Bryan Staten, Brian Velasquez, Deryck Alexander, Jesse Brent, Tyler Coleman, Mychael Poole, Steven Burchett, Jordan Wilkerson and Abiy Ababu have been weight room nuts and will all make big impacts on both sides of the ball.
Patch: What are your expectations and team goals for the 2012 season?
Owens: We expect nothing less than to have a shot at the playoffs. Our goal is the playoffs.