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Jr. Cats have high hopes for playoffs

The Oxford Jr. Wildcats freshman blue team finished its regular season with an 8-0 record. They face Brandon in the playoffs Oct. 23 at Lake Orion High School. (click for larger version)
October 20, 2010 - The Oxford Jr. Wildcat football program has helped lay the groundwork for one of the most successful winning streaks of any high school football program in the state.

This year's teams are no exception as both the freshman blue and freshman gold teams posted winning records and have high hopes for playoff runs.

Under the direction of Jeff Miller, the freshman blue team finished the regular season undefeated, going 8-0.

"Overall, we have a very balanced team...everyone has really stepped up and contributed to the success of the team," Miller said. "The kids have really come together as a team as the season progressed. They really listened to their coaches and have done a great job."

The blue team led their league in scoring this year and have one of the stingiest defenses in the entire league.

Miller cites the leadership of Thomas Wandrie, Michael Raisch, Sam Barrot on the defensive side of the ball and offensive leaders Ryan Miller and Matthew Curtis.

"For this age group, they are really sound on the fundamentals of blocking and tackling and it has given us an advantage over some of the teams that we have played," Miller said. "For a group of eight and nine year old kids, they look like an older group."

They open up the playoffs against the Brandon Jr. Blackhawks at Lake Orion High School on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the freshman gold team played just as well, finishing the season with a 6-2 record.

Gold head coach Scott Watson said that this year was a complete turnaround from last season, where the team went 1-6 and didn't qualify for the playoffs.

"One thing that was really consistent throughout the season was the conditioning that the coaches did with our kids," Watson pointed out. "Our teams seemed to out-last a lot of our opponents into the third and fourth quarter, and that continued throughout the season."

Watson also mentioned that the team was very good defensively throughout the entire year with the offense making strides every game. The gold team's fortunes were improved thanks to the play of Joey Miller, Evan Brunning and Lucas Spencer.

"There were so many that stepped up at different times," Watson said.

In their most recent game against Lake Orion on Saturday, Oct. 16, the gold team honored Breast Cancer awareness month by taking to the field in pink socks.

"One of our players had an idea to get those pink ribbons for the helmets, but the idea for breast cancer awareness grew...and everyone agreed on pink socks to support breast cancer awareness," Watson said.

"It's one of those things that we want to be able to express our support of finding a cure," he added.

The gold team opens the playoffs against the Clarkston gold team at Troy Athens High School on Oct. 23 at 11 a.m.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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