OAKLEAF – Day one of Oakleaf High football practice saw head coach Frank Garis, cognizant of his successful first year making year two less about introducing a new Knights’ product on the field making enemy coaches aware that Oakleaf does have some top notch athletes.
With two recent signees to the University of Miami; offensive tackle Jalen Rivers and defensive end Chantz Williams, the Knights and a gap in the backfield to all-everything running back Keshawn King to Virginia Tech, Garis’ push on the day one practice on Monday was to get instructional reps done quickly, efficiently and correctly.
On the offensive, third year quarterback Walter Simmons III returns for his third season at the helm without the security of King’s 80 yard breakaways putting points on the board.
But, and a very big but, Simmons has arguably three of the best pass catchers in the area with Sean Washington, Terrance Anthony and Antonio Marshall all returning after strong campaigns in last year’s short playoff run.
Oakleaf always has a handful of athletes come up from Oakleaf Junior High School where coach Merlin Smith cultivates hard running ballcarriers. We shall see who emerges for Garis.
The line is anchored by Rivers with size normally not a problem for the Knights; execution being made a bit more difficult without King’s fast-hitting explosion at the point of attack. Powerhouse Kevin Davis, a 205 pound muscle mass, will be a downhill runner with Adrian Gray taking reps with the first team offense.
Garis spent the early part of Monday with his secondary athletes; Donovan Thomas and Chrystian Sellers being joined by speedster Omarh Tolliver. Linebacker Jordan Randall (210 pounds) was last year’s playoff game hero and he will have Korei Sheppard (220 pounds) nearby.
Oakleaf moves to a rough district 1-8A with 8A champion Mandarin, tough guy Bartram Trail and athletic Sandalwood with 6A-Nease moving up.