Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune
The Phoenix defensive linemen practice proper blocking techniques.
Are you ready for some football?
The Phoenix have been practicing nearly every day since the start of the month to prepare for their season opener on Friday, Aug. 28.
Second-year head coach Michael Law is eager for the season to begin.
“Last year I was just trying to get things installed and this year they have a familiarity with what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively,” he said, emphasizing how Oberlin players are doing a great job learning their roles and preparing for the season.
“The offensive and defensive line is about learning your assignments early on so when you can get your pads on finally you can get into some of the real things that win football games,” Law said.
The Phoenix football team will have roughly 10 more players than last year as the team approaches 40 athletes.
Law does not plan to fill the strategy book with trick plays. He is focused on running the ball, being effective with play passing, and sound defense.
“We’re going to do our best to give our athletes the ball in as many ways as possible,” he said.
The Phoenix lost quarterbacks Spencer Pauley and Marvin Jackson last year to graduation, which leaves the position up for grabs.
Law said there is a competition for the starting quarterback slot but junior David Payne has been showing that he wants it.
“David has been doing a good job of learning what we’re doing and taking a leadership role,” he said.
However, Law is allowing multiple players to take snaps and run plays because that allows him to use those players in other positions too.
The Phoenix have two key offensive playmakers in seniors Elijah Bugg and Kobe Fields.
Law believes a strong offensive line in front of the quarterback and running back is going to help the team exceed this season and he’s looking to Malik Aguiniga, Morality Anderson, and Jonathan Rosa to lead the line.
“Their senior leadership and their growth as offensive lineman is absolutely exciting to me having played the position,” he said.
One reason Law is excited this year is the growth of last year’s freshmen.
He anticipates having those young players on the field Friday nights helping the team bring home victories.
“By the time the end of August gets here, that last Friday in August, we’re going to be itching to get on that field,” Law said.
The boys will have a tri-scrimmage at 6 p.m. Friday at Bay Village against Lakewood and Bay and a second scrimmage Aug. 21 against Sandusky St. Mary’s (time TBA).
The Phoenix will host New London in the season opener at 7 p.m. Aug. 28.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.