By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Oxford High School varsity football season opened with a 13-34 loss against the Romeo High School Bulldogs on Aug. 27.
Despite the loss, Head Coach Zach Line is happy with the way the team performed.
“It’s one of those games you walk away with and you can’t be mad about the effort, but you’re upset with some day-one alignment assignment,” Line said.
While citing turnovers as a place to improve upon, Line sees the execution of plays as the principal thing the team has to work on.
“To me it’s just execution,” Line said. “When we were in the right spots and we were aligned correctly, we did a good job; we were there and we made plays. It’s those times when we’ve got two guys railing different calls and it gets us in a bad position. So just cleaning up who’s the call-maker, where we’re gonna be aligning. Just simple day-one alignment assignment details … If we’re lined up in the right spots we don’t have the big plays that we gave up (against Romeo), so that is an easy fix. It’s much more comforting as a coach to know it was an alignment error rather than a scheme error.”
Aside from alignment errors, Line praised the team’s effort while stating he will spend time this week making the offense “meaner.”
“This week we’ll be throwing the pads on a little bit more,” Line said. “We’ve just gotta get back to downhill football. Right now we’re waiting around too much and too hesitant. The effort is there, we just need to get more physical with the football.”
In terms of individual performances, two players in particular left their mark on the coach.
“I think John Asciutto had a great game both offensively and defensively and even on special teams,” Line said, pointing out Asciutto’s first quarter punt return. “Brady Carpenter played well; first game of the year, he stepped up and took some shots for his team. Those are two guys who stood out to me right away.”
This Friday the ‘Cats go on the road against the Rochester Adams Highlanders. The Highlanders come off a 35-17 away victory over 2020-2021 MHSAA varsity state D1 champions West Bloomfield. Line cites Adams’ success to the discipline of their head coach Tony Patritto.
“Whenever you get a disciplined team it’s always that much harder,” Line said. “It’s an offense that you have to be disciplined (against) on defense, similar to last week. (Adams) are running at a very high level. Defensively they run their scheme and they run it well. They’re a very disciplined team, they do what they do, so it will be a great match up for us.”
The Wildcats take on the Highlanders at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 3 in Rochester Hills.
By Dean Vaglia