Typically new schools get the luxury of flying under the radar in their first few years of existence, getting to build their new program slowly from scratch as they watch a mishmash of younger players eventually grow into veterans. Oak Hills screwed up that plan last year, busting out to a 9-3 record as a freelance team and winning its first-round playoff game in the East Valley Division. So any anonymity the Bulldogs might have had entering their first season of Mojave River League play this season is gone.
“I think we have a little bit of a target on our backs,” Oak Hills coach Robert Kistner said. “We were able to win some games early and get some confidence and I think that’s made everyone else take notice. No one wants to lose to the new guy, so I think we are going to get everyone’s best shot.”
Having only sophomores and juniors last season, the Bulldogs return their 2009 squad intact. That rare luxury is made even nicer by the fact that one of those returners, senior RB Jeremiah Armstead, ran for 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago.
“He’s a beast,” said Kistner of his 6-2, 230-pound running back. “He’s the school’s first all-CIF player and was just a force last year. We rely a lot on our running game, so to have a guy like Jeremiah is a great thing.”
Armstead will combine with junior Marshaun Coprich to form a potent running attack that will be the Bulldogs’ bread-and-butter. Coprich, a 5-6, 175-pound bowling ball according to Kistner, added 687 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. Both players will run behind an experienced offensive line led by 6-5, 300-pound senior tackle Kevionte’ Henderson.
When Oak Hills does pass, it will rely on sophomore quarterback David Richardson. Richardson (6-3, 183) came on as a freshman to take the starting spot last year and sports a strong arm. He completed 31 of 75 passes for 524 yards and seven TDs to just one interception.
Defensively, Oak Hills has a pair of studs in senior LB Antwaun Dawson and senior DE Ben Havro. Dawson (6-2, 230) is receiving quite a bit of Division I recruiting interest while Havro (6-1, 205) had 13.5 sacks. MLB Aaron Woodard (5-10, 215) led the team in tackles while junior CBs Garrett Reece-Scott (5-9, 170) and Justin Albricker (5-8, 165) lead the secondary.
Oak Hills 2010 schedule (Home games in CAPS, * indicates league game)
Sept. 10 – at Desert Hot Springs
Sept. 17 – RIALTO
Sept. 24 – LANCASTER
Oct. 1 – MILLER
Oct. 8 – LAGUNA BEACH
Oct. 15 – at Sultana*
Oct. 22 – at Victor Valley
Oct. 29 – SERRANO*
Nov. 5 – at Hesperia*
Nov. 12 – APPLE VALLEY*