[tps_title]Oxford Hornets [/tps_title]
Means knows next rung on ladder will be toughest
EAST NOTTINGHAM >> In his four years guiding the Oxford Hornets football team, head coach Mike Means has taken a program that always had its share of talented players that just never seemed to get over the hump, to one that takes the field for every game believing they can not just compete, but win, and have been a district qualifier the past two seasons.
“The culture has definitely improved every year for the past four, and expectations have changed for our kids,” said Means. “We still haven’t climbed the ladders we need to in order to take the next step as a program but I feel like our off-season expectations and team-building has put us in a position to compete in this league every year.”
Quarterback, in particular, has been a bright spot for Oxford the last decade, with Colin Herb, Dan Green, Chandler England and Bret Kochmansky each making an assault on the school record books. This season, it will be senior Tom Repetz looking to make his mark.
“Tom worked his tail off in the off-season and has grown into someone the rest of offensive guys trust and rely on,” said Means. “We put a lot on the plates of our QBs in our offensive system and he has risen to the challenge so far. Now we just need to see him do it under the big lights on Friday nights.”
The Hornets returns a solid core of defensive players, mix in some promising newcomers on the offensive side, and a group of seniors that know what it takes to lead. A great work ethic and desire to improve each time they strap up and step on the field will prove vital to Oxford’s chances.
“Our biggest strengths are the leadership of our senior class and the blue-collar approach this group brings to practice and workouts each day,” said Means. “We are not as athletic as in years past, we are relatively thin and inexperienced up front, and we have a lot of young guys who are going to get significant varsity playing time. We have to offset some of those things by playing with a togetherness and toughness that I think is getting better every day.”
The Hornets have a beefy schedule this season, opening with a much-improved Kennett squad, and includes non-league clashes with Interboro, and Downingtown West.
“The schedule is tough,” said Means. “Kennett has improved significantly and we start off with them and then an Interboro team who is going to be hungry to avenge their loss from last year. And having Rustin, Unionville, and Downingtown West in three out of four games is the middle of the season is really difficult. We are just hoping we can compete and give ourselves a shot in the fourth quarter of some of these games.”
By Bill Rudick; For Pa Prep Live