Fall prep preview | Oak Harbor football

The Oak Harbor High School football team is about to find out what life is like without Josiah Miller and Brent Ryan.

The two all-conference running backs complied the second and third best single-season rushing efforts in school history last year while leading Oak Harbor to a team scoring record (45.7 points per game) and an 8-2 won-loss mark.

Miller twice earned first-team honors as running back, defensive back and kick returner. He also handled the punting duties.

Coach Jay Turner said, “They were both tremendous running backs, but we really like the guys that we have coming back. We will use more of a ‘running back by committee’ approach as we feel that we have five-six really good running backs who all have their different strengths.”

Included in that group is senior Isaiah Trower and juniors Julian Faralan and Sheyenne Sams who put up impressive numbers in 2011 when given a chance. Each averaged more than 10 yards per carry: Trower 13.84, Faralan 12.3 and Sams 14.73.

Trower was also a second-team, all-league defensive back.

Other lettermen returning to the backfield are seniors Jon Lanningham, Dakota Sinchak, Michael Maletto, Fred Webster and Michael Labelle and junior Nathanael Stanford.

They will be running behind “one of the larger lines that we have ever had,” Turner said.  One of the team’s strengths, Turner added, will not only be the O-line but its defensive counterpart.

Among the returning lettermen in the line are seniors Austyn Walker, Austin Pulley, Jeremy Foster, Josh Crebbin and Dayne Herron; and juniors Troy Studervant, Jeff Rude, Matt Zafra and Ray Quinday.

Foster was a first-team, all-league defensive lineman and second-team offensive choice last fall. Walker was second-team tight end

Guiding it all will be senior quarterback Ian Kolste, who took over QB duties midway through his sophomore season. Kolste earned all-league honorable mention while hitting 54 passes in 109 attempts for 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions last year. His top returning receiver is Walker, who had six catches for 87 yards.

Key newcomers are senior JoJo Webster and sophomores Dejon Devroe, Jackson Constant, Tyler Adamson and CJ Meders.

The team’s weaknesses are inexperience (Turner expects three sophomores to see plenty of varsity time) and the lack of a veteran kicker.

Strengths, in addition to line play, include depth (105 players, not counting freshmen, are on the team), speed at the skill positions and experience at QB.

Last year’s impressive season ended with a loss in the first round of the playoffs. Turner said, “We are setting higher goals than just making the playoffs this year.”

To get there, the team will have to go through preseason favorite Marysville-Pilchuck, according to Turner.

Oak Harbor opens the season with three nonleague games against 4A opponents. The Wildcats play Snohomish at home at 7 p.m. tonight (Aug. 31), travel to Arlington at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and host Lake Stevens at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14.

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