Cheering fans and autumn leaves

Despite being unusually hot for the last couple of days, there is just a hint of fall in the air.

You can smell it early in the morning, all you have to do is step out on the porch and take a deep breath.

The Hall of Fame football game in Canton, Ohio, has been played giving fans a taste of the upcoming season and fantasy football advertisements have begun appearing on the Internet.

Last week I received the fall sports schedule from Oak Harbor High School Athletic Director Nikki Luper, and the Wildcats are ready to rock the house in 2008.

I haven’t heard anything from Coupeville yet, but I expect AD Willie Smith and his crew will be sending me information on the Wolves in the near future.

The 2008 fall season is going to be an interesting one for Wildcat teams and fans, and there are going to be a few changes this season. Particularly in football.

Oak Harbor has a new head coach in Jay Turner, the WesCo North has been realigned and a couple of old rivalries will be renewed.

Turner, the Wildcats’ former defensive coordinator, steps into the head coaching position replacing Dave Ward who had been at the helm for 17 years.

For many seasons defense has been Oak Harbor’s strong suit and don’t expect anything to change with the University of Montana graduate directing the purple and gold.

The Wildcats christened the new stadium last year and went undefeated on the home turf. With the number of tough customers Turner and his staff have returning for the 2008 season, that record could remain unblemished for many games to come.

Cascade and Everett are no longer members of the WesCo North league. The Bruins are now playing in the WesCo South and the Seagulls are members of the newly-created WesCo 3A division.

To replace the departed teams Arlington has moved up from Class 3A to 4A and Oak Harbor will be renewing its long-time rivalry against Mount Vernon in a non-league game.

Both games will be played at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

The Wildcats square off against the Mount Vernon Bulldogs Friday, Sept. 26, so fans should expect a big crowd in attendance for the game. Make plans on getting to the stadium early.

Arlington is the Wildcats’ opponent for Homecoming on Friday, Oct. 17. What could be better?

In the water, look for another big year for the Oak Harbor swim team.

Coach Erika Miller has a number of top competitors returning to the team who have been honing their skills in the pool swimming for the North Whidbey Aquajets since the end of the 2007 season.

Steve Barker begins his second season as girls head soccer coach and look for some good things to happen now that the ladies are familiar with how the “Silver Fox” runs the program.

Oak Harbor has experience, size and the entire front line returning to the volleyball court and what can you say about coach Eric Peterson’s cross country team?

Peterson has a bus load of talent coming back to the combined Oak Harbor/Coupeville team and runners from both schools have state championship meet experience competing in cross country and track.

On the tennis courts, the Wildcats had a winning season in 2007 and not many players off the team were lost to graduation. Horace Mells begins his 10th season as the netters’ coach and a state champion singles player or a doubles team is a definite possibility.

Yes, the fall season is just about here. Now all we need are flocks of migratory waterfowl in the air and the smell of somebody burning a big pile of leaves in their back yard.

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