Three seasons have passed since the Huntington Beach Oilers won their only Sunset league championship in 2013. That was also the last season the Oilers made it to the playoffs. With the 2017 season just about three months away, the Oilers are hoping that a renewed focus and a full year of acclimating to coach Ryan Kelaher’s system will lead them back to the top of the Sunset League and post-season play. Here are some things to know about the 2017 Huntington Beach Oilers, courtesy of Coach Kelaher.
1Graduation Leaves Some Spots to Fill
Coach Kellaher said by email: “Jake Minnicucci, Grant Feiwell, Leo Leighton, Alex Bonakdar, Alec Lowman, Jacob DiMartini all leave us big spots to fill.”
2The Oilers have Depth
A large incoming freshman class gives the Oilers about 50 players in the program. The depth makes it easier to fill in the holes left by graduation. Look for two strong JV and varsity teams to represent Huntington Beach High School this spring.
3Players to Watch
Grady Mercier, Ayden Colbert, Jeremy Anderson, Rick Masters and Sean DZmura all earned Sunset All-League honors in 2016. Kelaher added “Mason Corkett and Timmy Benson look to have big time years on both the field and in leadership capacities. Senior Brandon Womble looks to assert himself as a powerful midfielder.” Who will emerge as 2017 captains? “Our team is always looking for those who want to lead from within,” Kelaher said. “The fall will be a great time for all the coaches to accurately assess who can represent our values and be a captain this spring.”
4Winning the Close Ones
Nearly half of the Oilers’ losses were by one goal last season. Kelaher is confident that his team will turn those close games into Ws in 2017: “We also will avenge several one-goal losses from last year and look to remain on the winning side of the 2017 close competitions.”