Colors: Orange and White
Head Coach: Joe Anderson (7th season) (47-17 record)
2015 record: 11-2 (lost to David City Aquinas in C-2 State Championship Game)
Returning Starters: 5 offense 7 defense
The Oakland-Craig Knights are hoping and expecting to be really good again after making it to Memorial Stadium a year ago.
Head Coach Joe Anderson returns 5 offensive starters and 7 defensive starters from last year’s squad.
Back on offense is All-State running back Hoss Smith, wide receiver Garrett Seagren, OL Josh Dixon, TE Zach Arens, running back Ben Ward, and OL Marcos Quintero.
All six return on defense as well as does Isaiah Larson.
The QB battle is between Junior Evan Reinert, and sophomores Robby Mayberry and Jared Mulder. All three are expected to play regardless though.
Other players who expect to see playing time for Oakland-Craig this season include Ben Smith, Cole Bures, Tyson Harney, Wyatt Uhing, Jefferson McNeill, John Werner, Zakk Lierman, and Kobe Benne.
The Knights lost three all-state players from a year ago in Cole Mitchell QB/S, Cody Mace WR/C, and Conner Thiele LB/OL.
Anderson says last year’s underclassmen learned a lot from last year’s run, but duplicating last year’s success is going to be difficult. “Our younger kids really enjoyed the experience from last year. They got to see what playoff football is all about. They definitely are hungry to try to do that again, but we not it will not be easy. The kids also had a great off-season and really made good strides in the weightroom.”
Anderson says this year’s team will be relatively young, but expectations don’t change. “We always have pretty high expectations here at Oakland-Craig as there has always been a pretty good football tradition. We are going to be relying on a lot more younger kids this year, so how fast they develop will tell a lot.”
The Oakland-Craig Knights expect to be really good again in 2016, just like they were in 2015.
Anderson says goals include getting better as the season progresses and competing for a championship. “Our goal is to make sure we improve each week, so we are playing our best football at the end of the season. Our non-district games are really challenging so we will see what we are made of right away. Our goal is to keep improving so we give ourselves a chance when we get to the district games, and hopefully compete for a district title.”
Oakland-Craig’s district includes Fremont Bergan, BRLD, Wisner-Pilger, and Tekamah-Herman.
Oakland-Craig begins the season at Malcolm, and then returns home for a matchup with Battle Creek.
The Knights are at Crofton the following week before returning home to play Ponca the next week.
Oakland-Craig begins district play at BRLD and Wisner-Pilger before hosting Logan View.
A trip to Tekamah is in the cards the second to last week of the regular season before OC hosts Fremont Bergan to end the regular season.
Anderson feels the strength of this team is defense, but the offense has potential too. “Must find a replacement at QB. Competition between Reinert, Mayberry and Mulder. None of them have any varstiy experience, but are improving throughout camp. I feel our defense is something we can hang our hat on, especially early in the year as our offense tries to gel. We return 7 starters there. Offensively we have some weapons. Smith is a bruiser at FB, and Seagren and Ahrens give us some good weapons on the edge to throw to.”
2016 Oakland-Craig Knights Football Schedule:
08/26/16 @ Malcolm
09/02/16 Battle Creek
09/09/16 @ Crofton
09/23/16 @ BRLD
09/30/16 @ Wisner-Pilger
10/07/16 Logan View
10/14/16 @ Tekamah-Herman
10/21/16 Archbishop Bergan