2019 OHS Football Preview


Emma Hall, Editor-in-Chief

After a highly successful season last fall, the entire Oakdale High School community is buzzing with one thing in mind: football season. There’s good reason to be excited, too. The season started out with an easy win against Wilde Lake, an away game. There’s more of that to come, though, and the boys are ecstatic to play and to try to fill the monumental shoes last year’s Seniors left for them. 


“We’re definitely rebuilding,” replied Senior and captain, Dylan Bernie. “We only have four returning starters, so we definitely have to find guys to fill spots.” Bernie also discusses the challenges in getting younger players up to a varsity level. 


However, the pressures of being on the team aren’t solely from the varsity title. Oakdale, being a widely athletically acclaimed school, has a reputation to maintain. “Oakdale Football is known for winning a lot,” Senior, and captain, Ethan Reifer, recounts. “We have a target on our backs; everybody wants to beat Oakdale,” Bernie agrees with his co-captain. 


Not only are they expected to win, but to also live up to last season’s state-winning glory. Luckily, our boys are doing well with the added challenges. “My favorite part [about this season so far] is how much we’re doubted,” Bernie discloses. “It gets hard following State champions.” It seems as if both captains have optimistic views on the upcoming season, and are excited to help the team. 


The captains won’t be doing all the heavy lifting in improving the team, though. Other Seniors such as Luke Carey and Ben Bevilacqua also help, if in nothing else, by at least helping out the younger players. ”I had great leaders last year, so I’m just trying to do the same to the Juniors and Sophomores,” explained Senior Carey. Bevilacqua is doing the same, and speaks of helping younger players with learning the playbook and meeting the high expectations that come with the Oakdale Football team. 


Those very same expectations are actually what Coach Stein, teacher and football coach for 10 years now, credits the team’s high success to. “It’s just our culture,” Stein emphasized. “We work really hard in the off-season, and we’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good players, so as the years have stacked on, it’s formed this culture and expectation of how things are supposed to be.” 


Stein also mentions how a lot of the challenges that come along with the sport is the status of the entire Frederick County in football. “We have to play our very best every week because usually every week we’ll play a really good team,” he confides. The rest of the team seems to have two teams they are most anxious for: Linganore, last year’s 3A State Finalist, and Elkton, who we played in last year’s quarterfinals. Stein doesn’t seem worried; he believes that the only pressure of being on the team is the ones the players put on themselves. 


As far as younger players go, Junior Jonathan Fernandez is a perfect example of one of the players that will fill in the spots on the team made by last year’s Seniors. He was on the JV team for 2 years, and is now a starting player on Varsity. “I definitely have to learn a lot; it’s a lot faster than JV,” Fernandez admits. 


He also describes the pressures the rest of the team feels; “We have to live up to that team, but at the same time, we’re not that team, so we just have to prove to everyone that we’re still just as good.” So far, though, it seems as though the boys are doing a good job at accomplishing that with their current 1-0 record. 


As far as student sections go, Oakdale is one of the best. Nobody plans on this season being any different. “Last year was one of the best [student sections], so we have a lot to live up to, but I think we can do it. We’re planning a lot of new things,” Senior and student section leader Joe Wilson discloses. He also speaks of the importance of the whole school coming together on Friday nights, united supporting a common cause. 


Make sure to show out in orange for Kyle’s Crusaders at the next game on Friday, September 13th. It will be against Frederick High School at home. The efforts won’t be ignored; the players all express how our booming student section help the team more than one might think. “I think the team itself fuels off the crowd,” admits Bernie. “It gives us more confidence having the crowd behind us”.


From the sounds of it, the 2019 Football season will be one for the books. Don’t forget to show out to all the games and show your bear pride. Happy FNL!