Inside the Oilers
Last season: 8-3
Returning starters: 10 (5 offense, 5 defense)
Returning offensive leader: Noe Torres, Jr., RB. 300 yards, 6 total TDs.
Returning defensive leader: Andy Franko, Jr., MLB. 50 tackles.
Everybody's All-American: Torres. He's now finally the leading man in a system that annually finishes in the top five in the area. Whiting will look plenty for the two-year starter, and he'll be up to the task at hand. "Work and leadership is what Noe is about," Whiting coach Jeff Cain said. "He just shows up every day and is a workhorse for us."
He's got next: AJ Veloz, So., QB and Justin Jendreas, Jr., WR. The lanky, second-year player Veloz will have the keys to the car under a new instructor in recently-returned offensive coordinator Jim Verta, who comes back to Whiting after a coaching stint under his brother, Dave, at Clark for four years. Jendreas is going to get his shot as the No. 1 receiver after waiting in the wings behind graduated standouts Steve Kieltyka and Juwan Simmons. "They both had a log pile in front of them, and now it's time for them to produce," Cain said.
MARK HOFFMAN CONNECTION
"Mark has always been a leader and extremely supportive of Whiting on the IFCA board," Cain said.
Coaches since 1977: 5.
The Times' Breakdown
There's no denying it. Whiting lost a boatload of talent from last year's potent offensive attack and fast, athletic defense. But the Oiler faithful should have no fear, as Whiting contains a bunch of hungry players eager to impress. "This might be the hardest-working team we've had in a while," Cain admitted. This team also features some unheralded talent. You know what you will get with Torres, because he will pound the ball into the opposing D and will wear them out. Jendreas is quietly being compared to former all-everything receiver Brock Vale, and Veloz will have a bevy of young, quick receivers to throw to for the next three years under Verta's wide-open system. "It won't be any different around here," Cain said. "This is a blue-collar community with blue-collar kids, so it doesn't matter how young we are." !~ Paul Honeycutt