Colors: Orange and White
Head Coach: Joe Anderson (9th season) (64-21 record)
2017 record: 8-2 (lost to Yutan in 1st round of playoffs)
Returning Starters: 7 offense 8 defense
The Oakland-Craig Knights are looking for another big season under 9th year Head Coach Joe Anderson.
Oakland-Craig returns 7 starters on offense and 8 on defense, including seniors Robby Mayberry (5’10, 170 SR), Cole Bures (6’3, 190 OL/DL), Justyn Hale (6’2, 275 OL/DL), Tyson Harney (6’3, 235 OL/DL), John Warner (5’10, 175 OL/LB), Garrison Dodge (5’8, 160 WR/DB), Wyatt Uhing (5’10, 170 E/DB), Jefferson McNeill (5’10, 160 WR/DB), and Jared Mulder (6’0, 180 QB), as well as juniors Laurence Brands (6’5, 240 OL/DL) and Ian Lundquist (5’9, 160 LB).
Juniors Wyatt Seagren (6’6, 220 TE), Max Ward (5’11, 175 OL), Tom Maline (5’11, 180 OL), and Colton Thomsen (6’1, 160 DB) are also expected to see playing time for the Knights this season.
Jared Mulder is expected to be the new starting quarterback for the Knights, according to Anderson. “Mulder is in line to take over at QB. He has started 2 games in the last 2 years. In those games he has thrown for 490 yards and 5 TD. Garrison Dodge proved to be a solid target last year, along with Jefferson McNeill and Wyatt Uhing. Wyatt Seagren has developed into a huge target at TE after a solid JV season last year.”
Anderson says Robby Mayberry should take over at RB. “A smart player that does a little bit of everything for us. Ian Lundquist will also be in the mix for carries.”
He adds his team has a lot of weapons on defense as well. “Defensively Hale, Bures, Harney, and Brands give us good size up front. Uhing and Sechler return to start at OLB for the third year. John Werner and Ian Lundquist both return at ILB. Mayberry and McNeill give us 2 guys with a lot of experience returning in the secondary. Dodge and Colton Thomsen should give us good depth as well.”
Anderson says lots of veteran players are back from last year. “We return some good experience from last years 8-2 team. We only had 5 seniors last year, however we lost some good playmakers mainly in the passing game.”
Big losses include wide receivers Garrett Seagren and Kobe Benne, Running Back Ben Smith, Quarterback Evan Reinert, and three-year starting Center Marcos Quintero.
Anderson says 11 seniors have starting experience.
He says the Knights will be strong in the trenches. “I feel we will be much better up front this year with 4 OL returning and 4 or 5 others that will compete and give us good depth. Justyn Hale, Tyson Harney, and Cole Bures all will be 3 year starters on the OL. Laurence Brands started every game for us as sophomore last year. Tom Maline (started 1 game at center), Mike Brands, John Werner, Michael Maline, and Max Ward give us really quality depth on the line that we have not always had. We will also have a lot more size than we have had in the past.”
Anderson says the Knights have more size than they ever have before.
Anderson says depth is also a strong suit for the team. “I just feel like we can go two deep and really not drop right off. I think that’s where maybe our biggest strength is over the rest of C-2 is I feel we’re two deep at most positions. Up front we’re pretty strong too. I feel we have 8 right now. 8 or 9 guys that we can plug in there and win on Friday nights.”
Bob Jensen of the Huskerland Prep Report Jensen expects the Knights to be really good once again. “Winners win on a consistent basis, and at Oakland-Craig they’ve mastered that over the years. They do have to replace their quarterback, but have a lot of starters coming back. I think it’s something like 7 on offense and 8 on defense. And again these kids have been around winning, I mean that’s what they know how to do, they know how to win.”
Jensen says Oakland-Craig has a bunch of good players, and feels one or two could become great.
The Oakland-Craig Football Team opens up the season with three powerhouses. Anderson says those games are going to be heavyweight fights. “The way our season starts it’s going to be some smashmouth football. We start with Crofton, Hartington CC, Ponca. 3 teams from Northeast Nebraska, all 3 of those teams have had great programs. If you look at their winning percentages the last 20 years it’s going to be right at the top of C-2 so we’re going to see what we’re made of right out of the start.”
Oakland-Craig hosts Crofton next Friday night in the team’s season opener. Anderson says it’s no secret what the Warriors will do. “You know what they’re going to do. They’re going to line up, they’re going to play double wing, they’re going to try and hit you in the mouth and play smashmouth football. Defensively, their coach does a great job of getting them in the right positions and they play hard.”
Anderson adds the team needs to put things together quickly. “We will have a chance to put another solid team on the field. We will have a lot more quality depth than what we have had in the past. We have a pretty big senior class, a good junior class, and very talented sophomore class that can help us out a lot this year. They had a great JV season last year. We will need to put it all together quickly as we start with Crofton, Cedar and Ponca. ”
Oakland-Craig is in District C2-2 with Fremont Bergan, Yutan, Louisville, Tekamah-Herman, and BRLD.
2018 Oakland-Craig Knights Football Schedule:
08/31/18 @ Hartington Cedar Catholic
09/07/18 @ Ponca
09/28/18 @ Louisville
10/05/18 @ Archbishop Bergan