Thanks to a veteran offense line, and the electrifying duo, the Wildcats have already matched last year’s win total heading into today’s Class 2A, Region 7 showdown with Fultondale. The Wildcats are also just a few touchdowns away from matching last year’s point total through four games.
Oakman came into the 2011 with four wins over the last two years. That said, Trotter and Guthrie knew things would be different this season under third-year coach Mark Hastings.
“It seems like we have a lot more intensity now,” said Guthrie, Oakman’s senior running back. “The whole team has intensity.”
Intensity mixed with a little elusiveness.
In last week’s win over Falkville, Guthrie had two incredible touchdowns, escaping tackle after tackle on a punt return for a score and breaking free of four Falkville defenders for another touchdown run. On the season Guthrie has 527 rushing yards on 77 carries for an average of 6.8 yards per attempt to go along with his punt return for a score.
While Guthrie leads the ground attack, the air belongs to Trotter, a sophomore quarterback. Trotter has completed 39-of-61 passes for 545 yards and five touchdowns. He’s also the team’s second-leading rusher with 288 yards and six touchdowns. Quinton Harris is Trotter’s top target with 12 catches for 307 yards and four scores.
In limited playing time against Falkville, Trotter threw a pair of touchdown passes last week.
Trotter and Guthrie have each had 100-yard rushing games twice this season, against Cleveland in the opener and versus Cold Springs in Week 2.
Both players credit Oakman’s offensive line with the team’s success.
The line is made up of: right guard Christian Key, right tackle Tyler Pate, center Wesley Key, left tackle Zac Fondren and left guard Austin Millwood.
“It starts with the line,” Trotter said. “Every time the line blocks, we are going to make something happen.”
“We can’t do anything without the line,” Guthrie added.
Oakman has already topped the 50-point mark twice this season and has already scored more points in region play (159) than it did last season (158).
The Wildcats are averaging 39.8 points per game heading into today’s contest and are just 31 points short of matching last year’s point total of 190. The Wildcats (3-1 overall, 3-1 in the region) are seeking their first winning season since 2004 and their first playoff berth since 2006.
Oakman came close to making the playoffs last season, falling a touchdown short against Sumiton Christian in a must-win game.
“Last year it was like we were used to losing. This year, when we lost, when we came back to practice Monday and you could tell that everybody was ready to go,” Trotter said. “I thought we were going to have a good season last year. Everybody would get pumped up, but when the other team would score a touchdown, it was over. This year, we know we can score right back.”
“Everybody wants to practice now because we’re winning,” Guthrie said.
Trotter, who has been playing on varsity since the eighth-grade, felt things would get better this season.
“There’s something about this team. Everything felt like it was going to be there this year — the chemistry and the team,” Trotter added.
The duo likes Oakman’s playoff chances this season.
“We will go to the playoffs,” Guthrie said. “I can promise you that. Making the playoffs would be great, especially after what we’ve gone through the past two years.”
With a few early wins has come some excitement around the Oakman program.
“Last year nobody worried about the football team,” Guthrie added. “Now we’ve got the O-zone (student section). People started to care about football again.”
Trotter feels this season could mark the beginning of something special at Oakman. “This is the start of something here, I can feel it,” Trotter said.