By David Fong
Regional Sports Editor
In Las Vegas, the New England Patriots are a relatively slight favorite to beat the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII.
In Miami County, however, the Patriots are huge favorites.
We asked local high school football coaches to predict who would win the Super Bowl. Of the seven county coaches we spoke with, six predicted a Patriots victory. The lone coach to pick the Rams was Covington’s Ty Cates. Although, it does bear mentioning, that while Milton-Union coach Bret Pearce thinks the Patriots will win, he’s once again hoping the opposing team will prove him wrong.
Here’s how Miami County coaches responded when asked to pick a Super Bowl winner:
Matt Burgbacher (Troy)
“I predict the Patriots will win. This is based off experience. You’ve kind of got two teams on the opposite ends of the spectrum — at one end of the spectrum, you’ve got a young team with fairly new coach who is very innovative. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got a coach with an old-school mentality. It’s hard to bet against that experience. I feel like the Patriots’ experience in the big game will pay off for them.”
Bill Nees (Piqua)
”The Patriots will win based on: A) The Brady-to-‘Gronk’ connection that is a match-up nightmare; B) the Patriots’ ability to get heat on LA’s quarterback to limit the vast numbers of play-action crossing routes that the Rams used to victimize almost every defense; C) the Patriots will employ some adaptation of their own defense to create vision problems for the Ram’s offense and D) the Patriots have a local player as a member of the offensive line, Joe Thuney from Alter. They always won when they had Matt Light from Greenville.”
Ryan Jones (Troy Christian)
“Patriots 27, Rams 23. I believe that red zone efficiency will be the determining factor in this year’s championship. The Patriots had some issues last week in short-yardage situations and will have to be more creative against the Rams. The defensive line for the Rams will make it difficult for the Patriots to protect Tom Brady. However, Brady is the best at getting the ball out quickly. If the Rams can stop the quick passes to the running backs, I think they can win the game. In the end, I think that the Patriots’ big game experience will allow them to prevail in a close game.”
Max Current (Miami East)
“Patriots. Bill Belichick has two weeks to prepare his defense, and he is the best at getting his team ready.”
Ty Cates (Covington)
“Once again hard to go against the Patriots because of their perennial success, but I believe the Rams will score points, so that gives them a chance. I think the defensive line from the Rams is so dominant that I think they can cause enough problems to stop the running game, forcing third-and-long situations. The Patriots seem to find a way to win, though. I think it will be a very good football game. I predict 24-21 Rams over the Patriots, but don’t let Brady have the last drive.”
Bret Pearce (Milton-Union)
“You can probably use my prediction from most of the last decade, ‘I’m rooting against the Patriots, but I can’t pick against Tom Brady.’”
Scott Clodfelter (Bethel)
“I am taking New England 28-24. I believe New England will win because they are the most experienced team and will not beat themselves. They held the best offense in football to 3 yards in the first half in the AFC Championship game. The Rams are good but lack the big-game experience.”
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong