Head Coach: Kade Craner
Years as Head Coach: 4th Season
Previous Experience: 10 Years at Oakley
Record Last Year: 9-2
State Titles: 1985, 2007, 2009
Austin Bedke, RB/LB, 12
Josh Nyman, RB/LB, 11
Tate Cranney, QB, 12
Chandler Jones, WR/DB, 11
Jake Pulsipher, WR/DB, 12
Travis Barnard, OL/DL, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Austin Bedke, All-State
Chandler Jones, All-Conference
Tate Cranney, All-Conference
Jake Pulsipher, All-Conference
Travis Barnard, All-Conference
Josh Nyman, All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Jake Nyman, OL/DL, physicality
Sam Mitton, RB/LB, leadership and understanding of system
Photo By: Clayton Bunt - #13 Chandler Jones
Written By: Sven Alskog
Oakley gave eventual state champion Prairie a major challenge during the semifinals last season, with the Hornets and head coach Kade Craner hoping that experience will set them up for even more success this time around.
First Team All-State performers Chandler Jones (wide receiver and defensive back) and Austin Bedke (linebacker) return to anchor the roster.
Jones split last season between quarterback and wide receiver as a result of an injury to quarterback Tate Cranney, who is now back and will be ready to go for his senior season under center.
In just six games at receiver in 2017, Jones hauled in 36 receptions for 796 yards and 11 touchdowns. He will be one of the more dynamic weapons offensively throughout the classification.
Having a solid quarterback and a talented wide receiver will allow Oakley to throw the football more than in years past, but opposing defenses can still expect a heavy dose of a consistently effective rushing attack.
“The kids have been in the system and understand it. We are a run first team, but we feel like we may be more diverse this season with the kids we have,” added Craner.
Austin Bedke and Josh Nyman are the leading candidates for the bulk of the handoffs. Jake Pulsipher is an additional receiving threat to Jones who can help take some of the pressure off of the Hornets go-to receiver.
With a nice core of athletes who have been around for a while at Oakley, the expectations are to again be tough on the defensive end of the ball as well.
In 2017 the Hornets held six different opponents to 14 points or less, no easy task in eight man football.
The defense will run out of multiple alignments to force the offense to adjust to what they are doing. Craner hopes to see improvement in generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks and within island coverage.
Overall, the fourth year head coach likes the group he has assembled, but knows there is a lot of work ahead.
“We have some experience coming back, but have some holes to fill and we are excited to see who competes for those spots. We want to be there at the end, but do we have what it takes?”
Oakley begins the season with a tough road matchup against an experienced Lapwai team.