COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF: Return of standout talent has New Oxford optimistic about 2019
- The New Oxford football program is coming off a 3-7 season in 2018.
- The Colonials return some key talent, including starting quarterback Brayden Long.
- Standout wide receiver Abdul Janneh also is back for the Colonials.
Editor's note: This is one in a continuing series of team previews for the 2019 York-Adams League football season:
While most of the York-Adams Division I football teams will feature a new starting quarterback this season, the New Oxford Colonials rightfully feel good about having senior Brayden Long under center again.
Long, who threw for 1,878 yards and 17 touchdowns last year, was somewhat overlooked as a junior. That's because D-I was stocked with top-flight talent at the position. Central York’s Cade Pribula (a Delaware recruit), York High’s Seth Bernstein and Red Lion’s Zach Mentzer all experienced a great deal of success while piloting high-scoring, winning outfits. Those three have all graduated.
New Oxford, meanwhile, finished 3-7.
This season, however, with Long and standout receiver Abdul Janneh back leading the offense, the New Oxford boys are understandably optimistic. Long has already attracted attention from some NCAA Division I programs.
“Last year was a bit of a step in the right direction,” Long said in reference to the team’s 0-10 campaign during his sophomore season. “But I really feel that we have a strong core of senior guys back that are ready to lead the way.”
Getting comfortable with a new coach in Jason Warner was definitely a goal last year. It admittedly took a while for both the offense and defense to get used to the adjustment of playing under a new regime.
“Last year was our first year installing a new system,” New Oxford line coach Derek Starner said. “And now that we have that base understanding, we’re looking to build off that.”
Experience on both the offensive and defensive lines should help.
“We only lost one starting lineman from last year,” Jarred Rolle said of Tyler Lacey, a 2018 D-I all-star. “So I feel that we have a really strong core in the line. We just need some guys to step up so that we can rotate on the line and stay fresh. We’re not the biggest, but we’re fast.”
If things go right for the Colonials this year, there’s no reason to believe the squad can’t at least flip its 3-7 mark from a season ago. Even going against a schedule that includes six 2018 District 3 playoff squads, Long sounded upbeat when he spoke of his team’s desire to accomplish such a daunting task.
“We’re not going to run away from anyone,” he said. “Whether it’s Central, Red Lion or (York High), we’re going to go after them.”
Following is a capsule preview of the 2019 New Oxford season.
►Team: New Oxford Colonials.
►Coach: Jason Warner, second season.
►2018 record: 3-7 overall, 2-5 York-Adams Division I.
►Key losses (Division I All-Stars in bold): Tyler Lacey, offensive tackle; Luke Lardarello, wide receiver; Connor Becker, wide receiver; Hunter Kuhn, wide receiver/defensive back; Andrew Sanford, running back/linebacker; Haden Milhimes, running back/linebacker.
►Key returners (Division I All-Stars in bold): Brayden Long, senior, quarterback; Abdul Janneh, senior, wide receiver/defensive back; Jarred Rolle, senior, center/defensive lineman; LaDamian Williams, junior, offensive/defensive lineman; Zander Stambaugh, senior, offensive/defensive lineman; Jason Lookinbill, senior, wide receiver/defensive lineman.
►2019 schedule (Division I games in bold): Aug. 23 vs. Bermudian Springs at South Western; Aug. 30 at Conestoga Valley; Sept. 6 vs. Solanco; Sept. 13 vs. York High; Sept. 20 at Central York; Sept. 27 at Spring Grove; Oct. 4 vs. Dallastown; Oct. 11 at Red Lion; Oct. 18 vs. South Western; Oct. 25 at Northeastern.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at email@example.com.