Good and bad aspects could be taken out of what the Oneida football team faces when the 2010 season kicks off Saturday at Holland Patent.
On the good side, old Tri-Valley League rivalries are being revived within an expanded Class B East division. Holland Patent and Cazenovia join a league that already included the Indians, plus its neighbors from Vernon Verona Sherrill and Chittenango and South Jefferson.
The bad part is that, upon initial glance, there isn't a weak link in the league. All have enjoyed fair amounts of success and winning seasons, though none have made a run to the state Class B finals, as Oneida did in 2008.
Getting back to that high level might be a stretch, but veteran head coach Bill Carinci is pleased with his team's high turnout (40 on the varsity roster) and the way the Indians played a season ago in difficult circumstances.
With nearly everyone gone from the '08 state finalists, the Indians still went 5-4 in 2009, a winning mark that still didn't reflect the new, higher goals the program had set.
"Your expectations get higher once you get to that (2008) level," Carinci said.
For this season, Oneida again breaks in a new quarterback. Senior Matt Mosack replaces Jeremy Rodriguez, and Carinci said that Mosack is equally capable of throwing downfield and running out of the pocket when the situation calls for it.
It helps Mosack that both of last season's top wide receivers, Eric Riley and Shawn Ano, return, as does tight end Evan Watson, giving the Indians three reliable pass-catchers.
There is also no shortage of running options. Chris Chesebro has the most experience at tailback, but junior Evan Stoffle and sophomore Matt Barlow are pushing for carries. Brandon Worley lines up at fullback, with Patrick Tayntor offering support.