Category Archives: Athletics

OHS Football Continues Impressive Season

By Ryan McKinney

This week marks the halfway point of the Oak Hall Eagles football season as the team continues to steam roll opponents. The Eagles have played in four games so far and have been unstoppable as the team is undefeated. 

The first game, aptly named the Kickoff Classic, came against a much larger P.K Yonge team. On the first play of the game P.K.’s running back broke loose for 20-plus yards. The Eagles got a sack on the very next play thanks to sophomore Tommy Weber, who also made his football debut in this game. “That was the perfect timing to jump the line and I just got to the quarterback as fast as possible,” Weber said. Oak Hall added a few touchdowns to pull out the close win. 

The next game was at home against Saint Joseph Academy and was delayed for a few hours due to thunderstorms. Once the game actually began, the only important play came from sophomore Briggs Copeland. While on offense, he broke free and gained speed passing everybody on the field and got the big rushing touchdown to give Oak Hall the win. 

Sophomore Briggs Copeland, #24, waits for the snap

The next home game, against Bishop Snyder, was supposedly going to be the toughest matchup for the Eagles this year. This was not the case, as Oak Hall scored touchdowns left and right including touchdown catches from senior Neil Ruth and junior Carter Dykes, and touchdown rushes from sophomore Dakota Brower and junior Abram Jerkins. Ruth’s touchdown was such an amazing catch that it won WCJB’s “All Area Play of the Week”. Overall, Oak Hall handled business against Bishop Snyder and won 49-12. 

The most recent game was away against Seven Rivers where our Eagles had a field day in the Warriors stadium. The most highlighted player in this game, in my opinion, is Copeland as he had nine carries for 109 yards, averaging 12 yards per carry. These stats are amazing, but along with the aforementioned stats, he also capped off his performance with four rushing touchdowns, including one for 49 yards. Overall, the Eagles played great and got the away win 48-21. There isn’t a hidden secret to the Eagles’s success, however. It all comes down to fundamentals and coaching. “Our coaches really know what they’re doing,” mentioned Copeland.

The Eagles face five more teams in the regular season, including four road games and one home game. The final home game on Oct. 21 is not only the Homecoming game, the game where we recognize our football and cheerleading seniors, but it’s also against rival St. Francis. 

Go Eagles!

Photo by Evelyn Baker-Moore for the Aerie

Super Bowl LVI Preview

By Ryan McKinney

Journalist Ryan McKinney gives us a preview of this year’s Super Bowl, and his prediction as to which team will take home the trophy.

On Feb. 13, the National Football League (NFL) brings us an unusual matchup in Super Bowl LVI. 

The Los Angeles Rams will host the Super Bowl as the team prepares for a matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are led by young star and “Comeback Player of the Year” Joe Burrow. During Burrow’s 2021 rookie season, he tore his ACL in Week 11 but went through rehab and came back this season better than ever. Burrow is joined by former LSU teammate and 2022 Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase. This dynamic duo has been unstoppable this season, breaking many records and leading their team to the championship game. 

On the other side of the story, the Rams are led by veteran Matthew Stafford. Ever since leaving Detroit, Stafford has become the perfect leader for the Rams. Stafford is joined by 2022 “Offensive Player of the Year” Cooper Kupp. Kupp has had one of the most spectacular seasons of any wide receiver as he is seeking to break the record for most receiving yards in a single season in this year’s Super Bowl.

On the defensive side of the field, the Rams are led by many veterans including Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and Leonard Floyd. These defensive players have contributed to the majority of the team’s success. The Bengals defense has struggled a bit this year but is strongly held together by safety Jessie Bates III. 

The Bengals have been upsetting teams throughout the playoffs and defeating top competitors. These teams include the number one seeded Tennessee Titans, and the number two seeded Kansas City Chiefs. Along with the Bengals, the Rams also had a challenging path through the playoffs as it beat the now-retired veteran Tom Brady in the NFC Semifinals. 

These two teams have competed in many tight post season games this year and both seek to win one last game. For example, Cincinnati has beaten two teams this post season, both saved by game-winning or tying field goals. The Bengals season is still alive due to the rookie kicker from the University of Florida, Evan McPherson. McPherson revealed his confidence when he was on the sidelines getting ready to kick what was then the most important field goal of his career. “Looks like we’re going to the AFC Championship,” he said, before kicking the game-winning field goal in the AFC Semifinals game. Los Angeles also competed in a close game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the score went back-and-forth the whole game. The Rams ended up pulling out the win on a game-winning field goal as time expired. 

The Cincinnati Bengals enter the Super Bowl 10-7 as the Number 4 seed in the AFC. On the other side, the Rams record was a little bit better as it went 12-5 but were also the fourth seed in the NFC. These two teams both contain talented players, but only a small number of players have playoff experience. This shows as both team leaders, Burrow and Stafford seek to win their first Super Bowl.

I would love to see a great game between these two talented teams, but I want the Cincinnati Bengals to win the game because of their underdog mentality, and I enjoy the players on this team. Although I want the Bengals to win, I do believe the Rams have the more overall balanced, and better, roster. 

In conclusion, Super Bowl LVI should be an interesting match-up to watch as the youngsters face the veterans to see who can gain their first Super Bowl title.  

Girls Basketball Team Heads into Playoffs

By Aiden Wacksman

After facing a COVID-19 outbreak in January, the Oak Hall varsity girls basketball team has rebounded by winning five of its last six games. 

The team’s first encounter with COVID-19 occurred on Jan. 6 when one player became ill. Just four days later, seven team members also fell ill, and two days after, Head Coach Eric Ringdahl tested positive for the virus. Games were cancelled and the team did not play again until Jan. 20 when it faced the Saint Francis Catholic Wolves. 

“Seven of my 11 players got sick,” Ringdahl said. Any games that were planned to take place at this time were cancelled. This was not the first time, however, that Ringdahl had games called off due to COVID-19 this season. Virus outbreaks on other teams led to several cancellations of the Eagles’ games. “It sucks to cancel games…,” Ringdahl noted. 

The team, however, faced adversity and re-emerged from the virus outbreak with conviction. It managed to outscore its next two opponents, the Wolves and Gainesville Christian Community School, by a combined score of 119-22. The Eagles then faced Eastside and St. John’s Country Day and won both games by scores of 43-38 and 43-33, respectively. The Eagles closed out the regular season with a record of 10-3. 

Ringdahl believes the team has improved in many ways since its 5-3 start to the season. “We have boxed out better and therefore we have become a better defensive team,” he said. Seniors AnnaBeth Dyrkolbotn and Tyla Young have especially stepped up this season. “Our two seniors continue to improve their games and, in many ways, provide fire and leadership,” Ringdahl stated. 

The Eagles played in the 2A District 4 tournament. Thanks to a 48-20 victory against First Coast Christian in the first round, the team clinched a spot in the 2A State Tournament. Its first game is against the 2A District 1 champs Munroe Bobcats at Munroe on Feb. 10. 

Varsity Boys Soccer Team Off to Impressive Start

By Aiden Wacksman

Going into the 2021-22 season, the Oak Hall boys varsity soccer team had a combined five wins in the last two years. This year, however, the team has a 5-1 record and its first winning start to a season since 2017.

First year Head Soccer Coach Edwin McTureous, who also coaches Oak Hall’s cross country and track and field teams, attributes part of the team’s success to its larger roster compared to previous years. “I enjoy being around the boys and getting to know some boys that I’ve never coached before,” he said. 

The team defeated the likes of University Christian, Trenton, Dunnellon, and Bell this season; it lost to three of those four teams last year. The Eagles are also on pace for one of the winningest seasons in program history. 

Members of the varsity boys soccer team celebrate a goal

Senior Asher Dobrin has been especially impacted by McTureous’ coaching. “Coach McTureous gives us really good instruction and reinforcement, which we didn’t have much of in the last two years,” he explained. Dobrin added that the majority of the team members are returning players, which has strengthened the team’s chemistry. “We’re able to play with so much more focus and energy this season,” he said.

Some players had low expectations for this season but have been pleasantly surprised by the team’s success. “I think we have a lot of skilled players on the team,” said Senior Ryland Kane. He believes that the team’s mindset is just as important as its gameplay and is a key instrument to its success. “We hope to continue to improve during practice so we can show that our team is more capable than some may think,” he stated.

Student Spotlight: Asher Dobrin

By Tori Kitchens

Senior Arts Conservatory Program (ACP) member and student-athlete Asher Dobrin has been part of the Oak Hall community since the beginning of his academic career. As a lifer*, Dobrin has participated in several extra curriculars, including cross country, soccer, track and field, band, and numerous clubs. “For me, the most important thing and the definition of a student-athlete is probably just being able to incorporate those two parts of my life together, and I like to blend it together and relate my academics and my athletics. I think it makes it more enjoyable,” he said. 

Dobrin began running cross country going into his sixth-grade year. Many athletes do cross country to stay in shape for another sport, and his parents wanted him to run to prepare for soccer. As he kept practicing, Dobrin became of Oak Hall’s strongest runners, and achieved a personal best time of 16:24 for a 5K. Dobrin has been a part of the state runner-up team for the past three cross country seasons. “While this is more of an on-paper accomplishment, I think it’s representative of what I am really proud of the most, which is just being a part of one of the best groups of people I could ask for,” he noted. Out of 227 runners at the state finals this year, Dobrin placed 26.

Soccer has always been one of those sports Asher could always come back to. He began playing soccer around the age of three or four on a community league team and as he reached middle school, Dobrin joined GSA, a travel soccer team. “I’ve played my whole life and [I] am not very good, but it’s nostalgic and comforting,” Dobrin joked. 

Although no one in his immediate family played an instrument, Dobrin was always interested in learning about music and seemed to gravitate toward it. “I thought it was cool and all my friends did it, so now I’m in it,” he pointed out. He began band in sixth grade, but he did not find his instrument, the bass, until eighth grade. Going into his sophomore year, Dobrin made the decision to audition for ACP. “I really wanted to challenge myself, and I put a lot of time into music in 9thgrade,” Dobrin explained. As a senior, Dobrin can play upright bass, electric bass, cello, piano, ukulele, and some guitar, but he has always preferred playing the upright bass. “I also love to dabble around on any instruments I can get my hands on,” Dobrin stated.

Dobrin wants younger student-athletes and ACP students to understand that enjoying what they are doing and not getting too stressed out are the most important things. “Always make sure you’re obviously enjoying it, but you’re putting your full effort into things because if you put more effort into it, you’re going to enjoy it more because you’ll enjoy the outcome more,” Dobrin stated. 

Hoping to attend the University of Georgia or the University of Colorado, Dobrin would like to study music composition or environmental studies. In addition, Dobrin would like to either sign with or walk on to a Division I Cross Country and Track team. 

* A “lifer” is a student that has consecutively attended Oak Hall from Pre-K, Junior Kindergarten, or Kindergarten through senior year.

A – Z with Asher Dobrin

A – Advice you’d give your freshman-self? Do your homework.
B – Best pre-race meal? Apples.
C – Coach’s best words of advice? Run fast, turn left.
D – Favorite dessert? Ice cream.
E – Most entertaining class? Freshman year geometry with Mr. L.
F – Favorite high school moment? I don’t know yet. The lounge freshman year with the carpet!
G – Goals for your senior year? Get into college and get into musical school.
H – Hoping to attend what college? Either University of Georgia or University of Colorado.
I – Interesting thing you do outside of arts and athletics? I volunteer with conservationist agencies. 
J – Favorite joke? What’s — oh I forgot! What’s blue and not very heavy? Light blue. 
K – Key to maintaining homework? Prioritizing assignments. 
L – Least favorite music style to play? Jazz.
M – Music you listen to? Indie, funk, and rock.
N – Netflix or Hulu? Netflix. 
O – What other sport would you like to try? Volleyball. 
P – Preparations for a big meet or performance? I try to sleep, I drink a lot of water, and I eat sushi.
Q – Question you’d ask your future self? Am I still not sleeping enough?
R – Most relaxing part of your day? Going to bed.
S – What would your senior superlative be? Best hair. 
T – Favorite TV show? I don’t watch TV. 
U – Most underrated music genre? Anarbor funk. 
V – Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere with mountains. 
W – What does it mean to you to be an Eagle? A lot.
X – Have you ever had an x-ray? Yes, many. 
Y – What do you want your impact to younger athletes and musicians be? Have fun!
Z – What is your zodiac sign? Cancer.