By Andrew Owens
While the Oxford Chargers look to replace some key production in their passing game, Coach Chris Cutcliffe is confident with 10 starters returning on offense and defense. Oxford High School kicks off Aug. 27 on the road against Brandon High School.
Starting on the offensive side of the ball, Oxford is fortunate to return both of its quarterbacks this season. Michael Harvey and Trip Maxwell will be back this season to lead the Chargers under center.
The Chargers will also return two offensive linemen, Bryce Mullen and Stratton Smith, as well tailbacks Omar Howell and Roman Gregory.
On the impact the quarterback play will have, “(Harvey and Maxwell) will both get to play again. They have both earned the right to be on the field,” Cutcliffe said. “Both played really well a year ago and had great seasons for us. I expect them to progress and take a step forward. We really have high expectations for both of them.”
While the quarterback position is one in a place of certainty, the offense does have some holes to fill.
“We lost 97 percent of our production at receiver from last season,” Cutcliffe said. “We are definitely looking for some guys to step up and make some plays for us. We have had some guys who have had a good spring and summer at receiver, but that’s the spot we are looking for guys to step up and take on that role for us.”
Be ready for some new names to become household names in the Oxford football program at receiver this year. On the offensive side of the ball look forward to seeing the team become more consistent this season and put complete games together.
On the defensive side, the Chargers will return five starters this year. Back is starter Keegan Wilfawn at linebacker as well as Alex Sanford, Elijah Wadley, and Jamal Giles.
“These are all guys who had really good seasons for us last year that we have big expectations for this year,” Cutcliffe said.
The Chargers have reloaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball. Ben Goubeaux will headline the additions to the defense. Goubeaux moved to Oxford from California and was a part of the 2021 Oxford Chargers baseball team in the spring.
“We think Ben is going to be a really good player for us and are excited to see what he can do,” Cutcliffe said on the addition of Goubeaux.
Team leadership is always a large part of the journey to the goal of a state championship. This team will be led by a senior class that has been defined by hard work and leadership through the years. Chargers fans should look forward to a group that will lead this team properly.
“They have always led the right way and have always worked,” Cutcliffe said. “That group now as seniors are really setting the way.”
A major test for the Chargers will be the shift to a new region in Class 6A. Oxford will now be a part of Region 2 for the upcoming season.
“It is teams that we are familiar with but there is no question that the level of competition will increase,” Cutcliffe said. “(Region 2) has some of the best programs in the state of Mississippi that we will be competing with.”
The Chargers go into this season with high expectations after a successful campaign a year ago when the team fell just short of a second consecutive state title, losing to Oak Grove in the championship game.
Oxford’s Co-Activity Director Chris Baughman says the community should look forward to watching and getting to know this team.
“The community will continue to be proud of the product Coach Cutcliffe and his assistant coaches put out. And that we continue to put out that type of product with the priority being these kids are going to contribute to the Oxford Community now as athletes but will continue to be positive members of this community for years to come,” Baughman said.