Oilers primed for another successful season on the gridiron

UF football home opener tomorrow night

By Kevin Schrock

For the University of Findlay football team, the 6-5 record they posted a year ago is not something that they are satisfied with, but it is something they can certainly build off of in the upcoming season.

“We were a couple plays away from being 9-2 last year, but on the flip side we were also just a couple plays away from being 4-7,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys. “I also felt like our last game was something to build off of because it put us over the wining season mark.”

Of the five losses the team suffered, only two of them were by more than 5 points and only one of them came on their home field. The team is confident that with a solid group of returners including quarterback Rhys Gervais, they can improve on that mark this year.

“We lost both of our offensive tackles on the right and left side of our line,” said Findlay coach Rob Keys. “Chris Reaper and Bobby Brown brought a lot of experience and its tough to replace that.”

However, after making his mark in the school record books a year ago, Gervais will still have familiar targets — Dylan Blunk, Jason Moore, and Airion Kosak — to toss the pigskin to.

“Rhys (Gervais) did have a very good year last year but I hope he’s even better this year,” said Keys. “We’re always looking to improve.”

The Oiler offense has been extremely successful throughout the Coach Keys era, and the same is expected in 2016. However, the defensive side of the ball has struggled at times and that may be the key to success in the upcoming season.

“I felt like in the last five weeks of the season we improved greatly on defense last year,” added Keys. “We were starting six freshman on defense and I think all of those guys improved and I’m looking forward to watching them play as sophomores with a little bit of game experience.”

A year ago the Oilers allowed the second most points in the conference and the second most yards per game. Both stats they will look to improve this season.

However, when the Oilers played on their home turf at Donnell Stadium they have been extremely tough to beat. Last year they only dropped one contest at home and have only lost six through the past four years. By opening the season with two games at home, the Oilers feel they have a slight edge on their opponents.

“We’ve been pretty good at home over the past seasons and we need to take care of those games,” said Keys. “Our schedule is very difficult and to be able to open up with a win at home would be a big step in the right direction.”

The opener is tomorrow against the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals under the lights at Donnell Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Oilers haven’t played the Cardinals since 2013 when they dropped a 35-34 heartbreaker to them at home. They will look to avenge that loss this year en route to another successful season.

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