There are 12 weeks until the start of the 2015 high school football season, but The Evening Sun sports staff is ready to start the Friday fun early. For the next 10 Fridays leading up to the publication of the GameTimePA.com football preview, Brandon Stoneburg and Zach Miller will highlight one team from the Hanover-Adams area and break down its upcoming season. The Countdown to Kickoff series starts with New Oxford, a team searching to find its way after a forgettable 2014 season.
New Oxford Colonials
Last year: 0-10, eighth in Division I
Coach: To be determined. Jason Thurston announced his resignation on Wednesday.
Key players lost: HB/CB Daulton Snyder (909 all-purpose yards, 48 tackles, 3 interceptions), HB/LB Hunter Ringrose (656 rush yards, 2 TDs, 51 tackles), WR/CB Keegan Romanoff (822 all-purpose yards), G/DT Max Lippy (9 pancakes blocks), C/LB Jake Rabine (6 pancake blocks)
Key players returning: T/DT Brock Hartman (7 pancake blocks, 40 tackles), QB/CB Corbin Czap (421 passing yards, 5 TDs/8 INTs), WR/CB Trevon Brown (15 tackles, 3 INTs), FB/LB Elijah Myers (46 tackles),
Key stretch: First three weeks. Sept. 4 at Bermudian Springs, Sept. 11 vs. Gettysburg, Sept. 18 vs. Biglerville.
Before the Colonials even get to the gauntlet that is Division I football, they take on three heavyweights from Divisions II and III. Fresh off an 0-10 season, they'll have a new head coach and a chance at a fresh start right away.
When the Colonials set up the schedule rotation before last season, plugging in Gettysburg and Biglerville didn't seem all that bad. New Oxford was coming off a solid 2013 season, Gettysburg was a question mark coming from the Mid-Penn and Biglerville was rebuilding after a 1-9 season. Now it's daunting. The Canners and Eagles should be the favorites in Division III and Gettysburg went 8-3 last year.
With such a strong out-of-division slate, there's no cupcake on the Colonials' schedule. But it also offers them a chance to make a statement.
Circle this game on the schedule: Sept. 25 vs. South Western.
Last season's matchup could be considered a turning point for both teams. The Colonials started 0-3, then went into the Corral and had their best game of the season. They still fell, 34-27, in a heartbreaker and things really unraveled after that. New Oxford didn't come within two touchdowns of any opponent after that game. The Mustangs, meanwhile, went 5-2 the rest of the way.
A win at home over the Colonials' division rival could go a long way to putting 2014 completely behind them.
Storyline to follow: What in the world is going on in New Oxford? First, they bumped up to Division I and went 0-10. Then head coach Jason Thurston tells his team that 2015 will be his last season. Then he said he was given an ultimatum to quit or be fired, and abruptly resigned this week with less than three months to go before kickoff.
Can they sort through all of this before the season starts? Will it be a distraction? We'll see.
2015 ScheduleSept. 4: at Bermudian Springs
Sept. 11: Gettysburg
Sept. 18: Biglerville
Sept. 25: South Western
Oct. 2: at Spring Grove
Oct. 9: at Central York
Oct. 16: Red Lion
Oct. 23: at Dallastown
Oct. 30: William Penn
Nov. 6: at Northeastern
Countdown to kickoff scheduleJune 12: New OxfordJune 19: HanoverJune 26: LittlestownJuly 3: Spring GroveJuly 10: BiglervilleJuly 17: FairfieldJuly 24: South WesternJuly 31: Delone CatholicAug. 7: GettysburgAug. 14: Bermudian SpringsAug. 21: Over/UndersAug. 28: Top returning units