What a difference a year has made for Oberlin. The Tigers entered 2016 with uncertainty, and now, Oberlin is on the prowl to defend its district title.
"We know that we have a target on our back now, so you know that every practice is not just going to be laying around," said quarterback James Kirklin. "We're going to make every practice as hard as we can."
The change for Oberlin a year ago, started with head coach Durell Peloquin. After seeing him first-hand, it didn't take long for Peloquin to win over the Tigers.
"We feel extremely comfortable. We felt comfortable last year and it just keeps getting better and better," defensive end Tucker Fontenot said of Peloquin. "He's a great coach and a great leader."
"Last year we were kind of iffy about the coach and we didn't know what he was going to bring to us," admitted Kirklin. "Then we won a district championship, and now we are going to work even harder to get past the second round of the playoffs."
A familiar face returns at quarterback in Kirklin. He was the fire-starter on offense as he totaled over 1,600 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
"With the help of Coach Seth (Storer), he's helped me become more of a quarterback. I still have the running ability and I'm not afraid to run, but Coach Seth help and now I've got more of a throwing ability this year."
"James has continue to learn and he's continuing to grow, he's the ultimate team player," Peloquin said. "I'm excited to have him back for another season."
The Tigers also return a wealth of starters on both lines.
Offensively, four lineman return to help pave the way for Kirklin and company. Defensive, the Tigers may have one of the best lines in the whole area with the trio of Fontenot, Laronzo Gradney and all-state tackle Mackenzie Carrier.
"We focus more because we get to work with Coach Pel," said Fontenot. "We focus a lot on keying the ball and repetition."
"The returning starters we have, played a lot of minutes last year," said Peloquin. "I'm excited that they are back and I am excited that they have a great core to be able to help the inexperienced guys lead our team."
After a breakout 2016, the Tigers looked poised to repeat as district champs and make some noise in the playoffs.
"It's just all about leaving a legacy. When the senior class took over last year, they set a goal," Peloquin said. "We are hoping that this senior class can continue to carry that goal, at least a step or two further."
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