Sports

Countdown to kickoff

A hard hit by the Wildcats’ defensive line pops the football loose and the scramble is on to recover the fumble. Oak Harbor’s defense will be in for a test Friday night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium in the season-opening game against Cascade.  - Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times
A hard hit by the Wildcats’ defensive line pops the football loose and the scramble is on to recover the fumble. Oak Harbor’s defense will be in for a test Friday night at Wildcat Memorial Stadium in the season-opening game against Cascade.
— image credit: Jim Woolbright/Whidbey News-Times

The clock is ticking down and only two days remain until Oak Harbor High School opens the 2008 football season Friday night.

Excitement is building to a fever-pitch level both on and off the field as players get ready to strap on the gear and fans get ready to fill Wildcat Memorial Stadium and cheer the purple and gold on to another winning season.

Saturday morning the team held its first-ever scrimmage on the artificial turf and there was a good turnout of faithful fans itching to get a sneak peek at the 2008 version of the Wildcats under the direction of new head coach Jay Turner.

Turner was an assistant coach on the Wildcat staff for 12 years and spent the last eight seasons as defensive coordinator prior to taking over the head coaching position.

During that time, Oak Harbor won six straight WesCo North championships and captured the Class 4A state title in 2006.

Last year the team finished the regular season undefeated and the Wildcats aim to keep that record intact squaring off against Cascade Friday night.

The Bruins, a former member of the WesCo North, are now playing in the league’s south division, and the Sept. 5 matchup will be a non-league game.

“Cascade is a very physical team and they will come out and hit you right in the mouth,” Turner said. “It’s going to be a tough first game for us and I’m glad they are now playing in the south.”

Oak Harbor will have a new quarterback at the helm in J Jordan, who cut his teeth on the junior varsity last season, but the junior signal caller will have some experience around him.

Junior Donovan Hunt returns at one of the running back positions along with senior Stephen Lewis. Joining the veterans is Brad Farnum who Turner said has been doing a great job in practice.

Rashaad Smith, Derrick Claret and Chris Rankin will be Jordan’s wide receiver targets, with Jim Kopke and Yale Rosen handling the action at tight end.

Along the line, veteran center Bennett Richter is the anchor and is joined by Nick Rouser, Javon Payne and Chris Neumiller, among others.

The 2008 football season is shaping up to be another good one for the purple and gold. The weather forecasters have indicated that Friday night will be a great one for high school football with lows in the mid-50s, so make it a point for you and the family to come out to the stadium and be part of the action.

Kickoff against the Bruins is set for 7 p.m.

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