The Richmond Oilers (0-5) and Kennedy Eagles (1-4) didn’t have much to root for during the first half of the season. But with league play beginning Friday night, both teams hope coin tosses start going their way.
Eagles head coach Mack Carminer said it’s been weird preparing for the second half of the season because of the nonsuccess his team has experienced.
“The kids have been relentless,” he said as he watched his players run through offensive drills Wednesday afternoon. “Games haven’t turned out the way we wanted them, but they understand the main focus and that’s winning league.”
“A lot of people see us as the team to beat,” said Eagles defensive specialist Jacob Qualls as he walked off the practice field Wednesday evening. “We’re just going to show De Anza with this league game we’re a factor. We’re going to run the table and take all five games.”
Oilers head coach Tashaka Merriweather said he hopes playing a tough non-league schedule will help his squad down the line. “The teams we’ve lost to have a combined record of 18-4,” he said. “Maybe a softer preseason builds confidence with a lot of wins, but as coaches it’s risky because you don’t want to build a false hope.”
With the Oilers coming off a bye week, the team may be gelling at the right time. “Monday and Tuesday were our best practices of the season,” Merriweather said underneath the bleachers before Wednesday’s practice. “The excitement was there and we got really physical. And to be honest we put the kids through a lot—we made it tough on them and they responded.”
On paper, winning the league shouldn’t be that hard. There is no true powerhouse or runaway winner. Of the six teams that make up the Stone Division in the Tri-County Athletic League, only De Anza and Hercules are treading water. The remaining four teams have a combined record of 3-17.
Friday night’s home games are at 7 p.m. The Oilers confront the John Swett Indians (2-3), and the Eagles clash with the De Anza Dons (2-2).