Golden Bears hoping to stay home

WAITING GAME — Zach Taylor and the Oak Glen football team must wait one more week before playoffs begin. -Joe Catullo

EW MANCHESTER — Oak Glen might have just finished the first 10-0 season in school history and have a Class AA playoff spot locked up, but that does not mean head coach Ted Arneault and company cannot get better.

In fact, the Golden Bears are spending their Week 11 bye working on just that.

“We’re not focused on who our opponent might be. We’re focused on what we need to do to get our business in order,” Arneault said. “We had a really good lift and condition (Monday), and (Tuesday) we’re going to practice with a lot of individual time working on technique, some of the things we can’t really work on during a week then we have an opponent and are working on gameplan specific things.”

For the Golden Bears, having the bye week to prepare for a playoff run is just what the doctor ordered.

“You have cumulative injuries, which were really starting to rack up on us. It kind of gives you some space to breath a little bit and look at the playoff field to see who potential matchups may be,” Arneault said. “At the same time, it lets you work on some things you’ve been putting off, some little wrinkles you’ve wanted to add that you haven’t had time to because you’re gameplanning for an opponent that week. That is the benefit of the bye week right before the playoffs for sure.”

While Oak Glen has to do some scoreboard watching this weekend to see what its playoff seed will be and whether or not its first-round playoff game will be at home or the on the road, its spot in the 16-team field already is locked up.

“It’s a great feeling. There is a lot of excitement — the kids have never been to the playoffs before,” Arneault said. “It’s been a long time for the community. It’s been since 2011. What’s even more exciting is the possibility of having a home playoff game, which is making the community even more excited. I’m hoping we’ll be able to draw a big crowd if we are fortunate enough to host.

“The community has come together and is very proud of the kids. I think they are starting to realize how special the whole situation is. A lot of our businesses and people, parents, grandparents and friends have all been very supportive of our kids.”

While the football team is undefeated and headed to the playoffs with a top offense and defense, as well as some of the leading athletes in the Herald-Star/Daily Times coverage area, it’s not the only team at the school having such success. The volleyball team concluded an undefeated regular season at 30-0 and swept its way through the sectional tournament to advance to regionals, while the girls soccer team makes its second-consecutive trip to Beckley for the state tournament, starting Friday.

“The girls soccer team has done really well, our volleyball team is undefeated. It is kind of like a contagious winning culture,” Arneault said. “Everybody is really excited about fall sports in general. It’s exciting for us to see how our girls soccer team does in Beckley and how our volleyball team does down state, then we have our game next Friday or Saturday. I think everybody is really excited to watch how it all unfolds. It’s been a special fall.”


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