Y0uthful and hungry, the Oneida football team found itself pushed up from Class B to Class in 2006, and adjusted quite well.
In fact, the Indians were in the playoff hunt until the end of the regular season, when a 31-0 defeat to Carthage ended those aspirations.
Still, the team's 4-5 mark leaves head coach Bill Carinci and his staff with a lot to look forward to this fall. Even though the Indians have just 12 seniors on its 36-man roster, it has plenty of underclassmen that have gained varsity experience.
Also, said Carinci, Oneida will have a better idea what to expect from its Class A National division opponents the second time around.
"Now we have a history on (opposing) teams, and an idea of what they run," he said.
Again, the Indians will center its offense around the passing game in a way most league opponents won't match.
Ryan Kramer took over at quarterback in the third game of his sophomore season. Now as a junior, he aims to reach the record-setting heights his older brother, Rob, achieved earlier this decade at the same position, with a strong arm seasoned from his work on the baseball diamond.
Like Kramer, Brandon Miles started as a sophomore and returns at wide receiver. Mike Krowicki settles into a starting role as a senior, while junior Joe McCormick moves up from the JV ranks. Dale Ano brings lots of experience to the tight end spot.
Carinci usually employs a single running back in his offense. In Rick Rossi and Steve Laureti, the Indians have two solid options to carry the ball.
By far, Oneida's biggest offensive concern lies in the line. Dustin Trotz is back at tackle, and Doug Lokker could work at tackle or guard. Otherwise, it's a scramble for starting spots, and the interior line must develop quickly to keep Kramer from facing rushes up the middle.