The has a lot to look forward to this season with its quarterback, top running back and main defenseman returning to the starting line-up.
The Tigers went 5-6 in 2011, just under the .500 mark. Head coach Arlee Conners thinks Oakville can take a conference title with quarterback Andy Oliver and middle linebacker Ben Howard leading the team.
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Oliver, a junior, returns after his first full season as a quarterback last year.
He completed 97 of 170 passes for 1,612 yards and had 15 touchdowns with seven interceptions.
“He showed a lot last year,” Conners said. “He took control of the quarterback position and showed a lot of signs of improvement. I’ve already seen him this year, and the things he’s done, he’s already improved his weaknesses. We’re looking forward to what he can do for us, and he’s going to be fun to watch.”
Oliver’s counterpart on offense, senior Moe LaGrand, also returns. He led the team in rushing yards with 816 and scored eight touchdowns on the season.
“These guys know the system like the back of their hand, and what they do now is, they kind of help the other guys out, and they allow us to implement more things in our offense,” he said.
Besides LaGrand and Oliver on offense, five linemen return with varsity experience. They’re an intimidating group with the smallest guy at 250 pounds, Connors said.
The thing that’s changed the most for the Tigers is the team’s coaching staff.
“We lost four and picked up eight coaches, so that’s not bad,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve been missing in this program for the longest time is quality instruction overall. These are the best coaches I’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Conners is taking over the offense this year and has new coaches Brad Loomis and Jamison Allen at defense.
The coaches will have experience as Ben Howard (71 tackles), Isaac Dozier (58 tackles), Avion Stevenson (20 tackles) and Jimmy Broderick (16 tackles) all return on defense.
Conners said the key to this season will be getting off to a better start. In 2011, the Tigers opened against Lindbergh and lost 42-0.
“There’s no way that I thought going into that game that would happen,” the coach said. “And I looked at some things we did at that game and before the game, and I can understand why it did and make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
The Tigers open up the season at home against Marquette High School at 7 p.m. Aug. 24.