MARTINS FERRY, Ohio (WTRF) — As we continue with our high school football previews, one school is celebrating homecoming already as Justin Kropka returns to his alma mater to take over the Purple Riders.

After 13 seasons at Harrison Central and one at John Marshall, Kropka is back where it all started for him.

” I’m happy to be back, you know there’s only one Martins Ferry. Here in my family, my son, will be the sixth. So you obviously it’s very special to me,” said Kropka.

Offensively, Kropka says they are still a work in progress They do return sophomore Ayden Ludolph at quarterback, along with senior tailback George Hulsey. Senior Jackson Carte will carry the ball and Sophomore Tev’n Williams will see time at running back and receiver. 

Receivers will include seniors Connor Probst and Matt Fox along with junior Baron Lucey. Tight-ends include sophomore Alex Reese and senior Landyn Hores. The rest of the line includes seniors Travis Trout at left guard, Alex Finsley at center, Matt Collette at right tackle and junior Shayden Fogle at right guard.

Kropka says, ” Most of our guys have never taken a varsity snap. I’d say 90 percent have never taken a varsity snap. We’re still figuring out who we are, we’re going to stay basic as always were going to find something we do well and do it and then expand from there.” 

Defensively, the Riders will line up in a 4-4 with Collette and Trout at the tackles, Reese and Finsley at the ends. Linebackers include Hulsey, Carte, Fox and Hores. Williams and Lucey finish out in the defensive backfield.

“Our seniors have been great as far as leadership and really buying in what were doing you know I think they’ve given us the opportunity to be a little better than we should have been,” said Kropka.