By RICH ZALUSKY
Assistant Sports Editor
Robert Rubin had just stepped down as the Prince Tech football coach following the end of last season. During his tenure, the Falcons went 37-17 and qualified for the postseason in Class S in 2012 and 2013.
Over that same time period, RHAM won 14 games.
What made Rubin decide to apply for the opening at RHAM?
â€śDuring my interview, I really liked the administration. They were pro-athletic,â€ť Rubin said. â€śRHAM has had a lot of programs do well and I thought that with football we could do the same thing.
â€śI like the challenge of building that with this program.â€ť
When asked what was most impressive about Rubin during the interview process â€” with a field of six applicants narrowed down to three â€” one thing in particular resonated with RHAM athletic director Mark Logan.
â€śHe was incredibly positive,â€ť Logan said during RHAMâ€™s season-opening game on Saturday against Tolland. â€śThat was the one thing that he came through with during the entire process. There was no negativity. He had the right answers for tough questions and if he didnâ€™t know it â€¦ heâ€™d find out. That was great. It was exactly what I wanted.â€ť
And one of the philosophies that Rubin is instilling during his first season is EAT â€” Effort, Attitude, Toughness.
â€śNo matter what goes on in your life, on and off the field, effort, attitude and toughness will dictate how you handle it,â€ť Rubin said. â€śYou always have to stay hungry. You always have to demonstrate a great effort, have a positive attitude and stay tough no matter what during those tough times.â€ť
â€˘ One of the points of emphasis that E.O. Smith football coach James Kelly stressed was that the Panthers needed to out-work and out-physical opponents.
That would be a key component for the Panthers to not just be competitive each week, but have an opportunity to win a bunch of those weeks.
How did Kelly feel about that in Week 1 after his Panthers defeated Bristol Eastern, 14-7, on Friday night?
â€śI thought we did well in that area,â€ť Kelly said in a phone conversation on Sunday night. â€śBristol Eastern showed up with a physicality that comes with improvement and over four quarters I thought we were physical right to the end.â€ť
E.O. Smith scored points on a safety, limited the visiting Lancers to five yards on the ground while they had 12 different players record tackles led by John Benavides (4) with Rondell Boothroyd and Justin Habagangas each recording three.
â€śOur schedule is going to get more difficult each week and Wethersfield [Friday] is a very good team,â€ť Kelly said. â€śFriday was a good start â€¦ now we need to keep improving and getting better at the physicality.â€ť