JACKSONVILLE - Oakleaf High head football coach Marcus Miller went two for two in his initial campaign as head coach of the Oakleaf football team after losing head coach Frank Garis and the Knights …
JACKSONVILLE - Oakleaf High head football coach Marcus Miller went two for two in his initial campaign as head coach of the Oakleaf football team after losing head coach Frank Garis and the Knights showed sparks of briliance including a first play 75 yard hitch and run touchdown pass play from quarterback Drew Ammon to wide receiver Taylor Bradshaw.
“We definitely have the athletes to make big plays from anywhere on the field,” said Miller, who got wins of 16-6 for a half against Baldwin High and an 11-7 win over host Sandalwood in the second half of the tri-team football festival. “We got some things to iron out, but they played hard and got after people.”
Oakleaf blasted for quick scores against Baldwin and Sandalwood, but Orange Park fell to miscues after 0-0 first quarter with Bolles.
Oakleaf and Orange Park will square off again in the season openers with a little bit of anticipation on both ends with new coaches on both sides; Marcus Wimberly for Orange Park and Miller for Oakleaf.
The matchup features two marquis running backs; Devin Outlaw for Oakleaf and JoJo Restall for Orange Park with both offenses featuring monster offensive linemen with two NCAA Div. I commits; Kyland Armstrong for Oakleaf to Wake Forest and Roderick Kearney for Orange Park to Florida State University, both making the game a rumble down low real fast.
The one key distinction is at quarterback where Ammon is a solid slinger with a proven track record and Wimberly has two quarterbacks; Bo Myrick and Elijah Craggette, that both have skill sets, but, for most of the summer, have been erratic at best finding the immense speed downfield that the Raiders possess; Nolan Chambers, Brian Green, Jermel Brown and Larry Thomas, all solid track guys with near 11 second 100 meter speed.
For Ammon, Taylor Bradshaw has already showed out with debut against Baldwin and Sandalwood just in two halves of football. The “other guy” is Carlos Witherup who Miller touts as the next best wide receiver in the county once defenses assign to guys to cover Bradshaw.
Both secondaries will be tested with Oakleaf’s Drake Stubbs one of the best pass stealers around and James Kitchens lurking around for a deflection as well.
Oakleaf, on the very first play of scrimmage against Baldwin, after a non-return kickoff start from the 25 yard line, saw Ammon sling a quick sideline pass to Bradshaw to probably get a quick five and get some confidence in the pass game.
“Taylor just did his thing, a move here, some power and bye bye, touchdown,” said Miller. “That’s a confidence booster for sure.”
As the scrum with Baldwin continued, Oakleaf continued to get the ball downfield efficiently, but, after Ammon broke from a scramble to score from about 30 yards out, a penalty flag was Baldwin’s first reprieve.
“That’s workable,” said Miller. “I think Drew was having some fun out there with that and a couple of underhand tosses on runs, but we want to be on our game when the season starts.”
With running back Devin Outlaw getting a few reps, Oakleaf fans saw glimpses of the power and elusiveness of the senior ball carrier.
“He’s healthy now and ready to prove that he is worthy of the attention,” said Miller. “
Ammon and Bradshaw would connect in the second quarter against Baldwin for a 40 yard pass play that saw Bradshaw snare a slant pattern and jet through the Baldwin secondary to paydirt.
Oakleaf other points, a two-point safety, came after strong defensive effort forced a Baldwin punt from the end zone that saw defensive end Isaiah Shevchook break through and chase the punter to the goal line for the tackle.
“One guy who looked good after working all summer was Prince Savea at noseguard,” said Miller. “He worked all summer but told us that he and Champ Spangler were coming ready to go. Prince has a big motor and he created some disruption all night.”
Defensive tackle Justin Marsh-Mensie was a disruptive force as well with Jaiden Hicks at linebacker stuffing plays at the line of scrimmage. Baldwin was forced to run quick out passes and hope to get a few missed tackles to add yards, but Kitchens was solid in open field with Braden Cole giving chase from his defensive end slot for downfield stops.
Against Sandalwood, Ammon created a highlight reel run and toss that got some attention with an off balance throw after a pocket scramble that found paydirt.