Oil City Oilers
2012 record: 4-7 overall, 2-4 Region 5
Head coach: Matt LaVerde (6th season)
Opening week opponent: At Corry, Friday at 7 p.m.
Oil City is going to be tough this year. The Oilers return their leading rusher from a year ago, Kevin Daly, who gained 1,374 yards and 16 TDs on 207 carries; and their top three receivers from a year ago, Logan Way (62 catches, 1,100 yards, 11 TDs), Jesse Rice (27 catches, 274 yards, one TD) and Frank Serbati (13 catches, 263 yards, one TD). The Oilers are also touting a good group of linemen, headlined by second-team all-region pick Quinton Reed, a senior.
The only real area of concern for the Oilers is at quarterback, where Taylor Stamm graduated after completing 76 of 144 passes for 1,274 yards and 11 TDs.
His replacement will be senior Trent Zdarko. Last season, Zdarko was a tight end and running back and was a second-team all-purpose back on offense and on the line on defense. This year he’ll continue his uncommon two-way duties, playing QB while lining up at nose guard on “D”.
Zdarko’s last consistent quarterbacking job was reportedly as a freshman. If he can manage to get the ball to the Oilers’ stable of receivers, this team could enjoy an exciting year.
2012 record: 1-9 overall, 0-6 Region 5
Head coach: Tom Haynes (1st season at Franklin, 17th overall)
Opening week opponent: Home vs. Titusville, Friday at 7 p.m.
Franklin’s new head coach, Tom Haynes, is a familiar face to Crawford County folks. For 16 seasons he was head man for the Cochranton football team before leaving two years ago. And when Franklin’s previous head coach Dave Smith left the Knights program after last season, Haynes decided to dive back in.
Haynes is installing a new triple-option attack on offense, offering some flexibility for talented senior quarterback Kyle Ritchey, who completed 105 of 217 passes last year for 1,518 yards, 10 TDs and 11 INTs.
Franklin’s running back corps will be new. It will feature senior Kyle Uber at fullback while seniors Ryan Madden and Jake Hernan will play halfback.
The Knights graduated quite a few good receivers last season in A.J. Cooley, Forrest Wested and Chris Kahle. But senior Isaiah Rutherford returns after leading the team in receptions (29 for 274 yards, three TDs). He’ll be joined by Khalil West, who grabbed eight passes for 131 yards in 2012. Senior Cleo McKinney and sophomores Tyler Moon and Rayquan Gray-Law will also go deep.