Ready to build on last year’s playoff run
*editor’s note: the original version of this story has been changed to reflect the actual season opener, which is Thursday, not Friday as first reported.
By Don Rush
This Thursday Oxford High School’s varsity football team travels east to Romeo High School to kickoff their 2022 season. Oxford High School Varsity Football head coach Zach Line has been working with the Wildcats since July to get players ready.
Last year Oxford finished the season with a 6-5 overall record, including a win in the first round of Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs. They lost in the second round on Nov. 5, 42-7 to Rochester Adams High School. They finished the regular season by winning four games in a row to finish 3-2 in league play and 5-4 overall.
Coach Line wants to improve this season.
“We’re working on getting to where we got to last year, faster,” he said. “This is Year 3 of this system and a lot of the guys have been exposed to it now. It’s just getting the mental part down quicker. So far, we’ve done a good job of it and we’re ahead of schedule as compared to last year. There’s still room to improve.”
Last year Romeo finished their season 9-2 overall and was 4-1 in their league, the Macomb Area Red.
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Joining Coach Line on the sidelines this season are assistant coaches Matt Call, Jason Eldridge, Brandon Groedl, Eric Ghiaciuc, Trevor Potts, Buck Myre, and Ross Wingert. There will be 52 Wildcats suited up this season, including 17 seniors.
Line thinks “chemistry” will be one Wildcats’ strengths this season.
“I think that’s one of the things overlooked, but that’s really what improved (over the course of the season) last year. I know we got better with our schemes, but the team grew really close as a group and that can go a long way in high school football,” he said.
Line expects his offense to be led by Sophomore Dom Cassise as quarterback, linemen Senior Zach Cabanillas and Junior Sean Wilson, and “our strong corp of receivers.”
On the defensive side of the line, Line expects the defensive backs to lead the team, singling out seniors Cameron Jarrett (linebacker), Eli Tabert (safety) and Junior Jay Cady (defensive back).
Last Thursday, the team traveled to Sterling Heights Stephenson High School for their last scrimmage of the pre-season.
Oxford’s first home game is on Sept. 2, when Groves High School will try their luck on the ‘Cats’ famed blue turf. Oxford’s homecoming game is Sept. 16 against Stoney Creek High School. The Wildcats will close out the regular season with three away games versus West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills and Chippewa Valley high schools.
Below is the season schedule. All regular season games are on Friday night with the exception of this week, with kickoffs at 7 p.m., except Sept. 2. Home games are in bold.
Aug. 25 at Romeo High School
Sept. 2 vs Groves High School (game starts at 7:30)
Sept. 9 vs Lake Orion High School
Sept. 16 vs Stoney Creek High School (Homecoming)
Sept. 23 at Clarkston High School
Sept. 30 vs Rochester Adams High School
Oct. 7 at West Bloomfield High School
Oct. 14 at Bloomfield Hills High School
Oct. 21 at Chippewa Valley High School