FITHIAN — Jeremy Dirksmeyer’s football coaching tenure at Oakwood/Armstrong-Potomac is entering Year 2. That automatically puts the Comets ahead of where they were 12 months ago.
“The consistency is there because we have the same staff,” Dirksmeyer said. “We’re much more efficient to start the season than last year when I was a late hire. The kids are familiar with the system, and that allows them to excel a little faster.”
Equally important, Dirksmeyer is well aware of the capabilities of his 57 squad members. He has eight athletes who started on offense last season, and seven who played regularly on defense.
The returnees who started both ways are Alex Anderson, Gevin Ashikyan, Andrew Curley, Zach Horatschki, Parker Lee, Skyler Slade and Jeremy Watson. Of that group, Ashikyan, Horatschki and Lee are juniors.
“We have a lot of youth, but it’s youth with experience,” Dirksmeyer said.
Lee, a quarterback until sidelined by injury in 2012, “has a good grasp of the system,” Dirksmeyer said.
Horatschki rushed for 643 yards a year ago. Curley and Slade will be anchors on the offensive line, Curley as the tight end. Anderson, a receiver last fall, has shifted to the backfield. Slade was second in tackles for last year’s 3-6 team, and Lee intercepted a team-high three passes.
O/A-P, which opens the season Aug. 30 at Flanagan, has one of the area’s busiest student-athletes. Senior kicker Lane Bennett also plays soccer in the fall and is the president of the Illinois Association of Student Councils.