Head Coach: Kade Craner, 4th year
2016 Record: 9-3 (6-2 1A-DI Snake River Conference)
Playoffs: Lost to Raft River in 1A-DI state championship 46-18
Oakley looks to build on last year’s state championship appearance, the program’s first since 2008. The Hornets return three full-time starters, including a pair of running back/linebackers, Sam Mitton and all-state selection Austin Bedke, a junior. They also return first-team all-state offensive lineman Jake Nyman.
“We’re excited to get back after it,” head coach Kade Craner said. “We got a view of what the mountain looks like last year. Hopefully this year, we’re ready to climb it.”
The Hornets finished third in the deep Snake River Conference during the regular season, but beat second-seeded Glenns Ferry in a wild overtime thriller in the 1A DI state semifinals, before falling to Raft River in the championship.
That state championship loss to the rival Trojans still stung the Hornets nine months later.
“That (finality) hit me a lot after last year’s game. That was really close. We’ve just gotta get closer,” Mitton said. “It’s not every day that you get to play in a state title game. It’s tough.”
Oakley loses several impact players from last season, including all-state running back Bridger Cranney, all-state two-way lineman Bryton Cooper, and all-state punter Joel Nunes.
“We all saw how to get there and what we need to do to win it,” Bedke said. “I feel like anything less than getting back there is a disappointment.”