OA Football Sets the Bar High For Upcoming Season [Video]
Head coach Jim Artz relying on senior class in 2011.
Despite going 4-6 last season, the Oliver Ames football team not only doubled its win total from the previous two years after going 1-9 in 2008 and 2009, but also finished in a three-way tie for first with Foxborough and Stoughton atop the Davenport Division (Foxborough won the small division of the Hockomock League based on tiebreaking procedures).
Unlike 2010, however, the winners from both the Davenport and Rex-Kelley divisions will represent the Hockomock League in the MIAA football playoffs.
“We went 3-1 last year in the Hock, which was a good start and we’re looking to improve on that,” said head coach Jim Artz, who enters his sixth year at OA. “We have a lot of returning starters and we set the bar pretty high for us this year.”
This year’s Tigers can rely on another strong senior class in 2011.
“The key returners are going to be our seniors,” Artz said. “Alex Tepper, Brian Rezendes, Brian Crosby, Dean Soucie, Jacob McDougall [this year’s captains]… there’s an awful lot of them. All of the seniors have stepped up and taken on big leadership roles.”
Offensively, the Tigers still have to replace their starting quarterback from a year ago, Mitchell Johnson, and their top running back, Joey Gizzi, who both served as captains in 2010.
Before the season, senior Jared Schneider - filling Johnson’s void - provided a nice spark at quarterback helping OA to a second place finish in the Northeast 7v7 passing league tournament in July (held at Bishop Fenwick high school in Peabody) and a third place finish in the team’s own passing league at the beginning of August.
“Jared [Schneider] is doing a good job already of replacing Mitchell,” Artz said about his starting quarterback. “And he’s confident, which is the most important thing you need from a quarterback.”
While Schneider has filled in nicely, the team is still looking for a feature back to replace Gizzi. Early on in the preseason, Carlton Williamson and Sam Langston have been splitting carries during the team’s first two scrimmages.
“Sam Langston and Carlton Williamson have both done a very good job splitting time at running back and as the season goes on they are going to get better and better,” Artz said. “They have worked extremely hard during the off-season and are preparing themselves for running the ball extremely well this year.”
Although OA ha some good things going for them, they realize the Davenport Division still goes through Foxborough, whom they’ll host on Oct. 14 at Val Muscato Stadium.
“They’re the returning champs so until someone beats them, they’re the champs,” Artz said about Foxborough. “It has to go through them first."
The Tigers have one last scrimmage against Durfee this Saturday – also at Muscato Stadium – before entering their first game of the season at Medfield on Sept. 9.
The next week, the Tigers will host North Quincy on Sept. 16 in the home opener before moving on to league play, and the first test of the year, against Franklin at home on Sept. 23.
“The non-league games [against Medfield and North Quincy] don’t have a lot of bearing on what we’re doing for the season. So it’s really kind of a dress rehearsal for the regular season before our first league game against Franklin,” Artz said. “That game against Franklin will test us on where we actually stand against the rest of the Hockomock League.”
OA Football Quick Facts
Head Coach: Jim Artz
2010 Record: 4-6 (3-6 Hock, 3-1 Davenport)
Captains: Brian Rezendes, Alex Tepper, Brian Crosby, Dean Soucie, Jacob McDougall
Key Returnees: Rezendes, Tepper, Crosby, Soucie, McDouggall, St. Claire Ryan, Kirk Schuester-Southern, Jared Schneider, Sam Langston, Carlton Williamson, Keith Sullivan, Kirk Schuester-Southern
Key Losses: Mitchell Johnson, Joey Gizzi, Billy Greene, Zack McKeen, Andrew Hetzel
- Sept. 9 at Medfield
- Sept. 16 vs. North Quincy
- Sept. 23 vs. Franklin
- Oct. 6 vs. King Philip
- Oct. 14 vs. Foxborough
- Oct. 21 at Mansfield
- Oct. 28 vs. North Attleboro
- Nov. 5 vs. Canton
- Nov. 12 at Stoughton
- Nov. 25 at Sharon
Editor's Note: Senior Kirk-Schuester Southern was originally listed as a key loss. This correction has been updated and Southern is now listed as one of the key returnee's. We apologize for the original error.