Photo via John Glaser, TexasHSFootball.com

 

The 2017 season will mark a new era in Oglesby Tiger football. Coach Jack Graves made the move to Gustine in the offseason, after four seasons with a 24-15 record as the Tiger’s head coach, making the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons. Oglesby found a replacement for Graves in the great Harley Ethridge, whose son, Tyler Ethridge, (Richland Springs 04-07) is viewed as one of the greatest, if not the greatest 6-man player ever in Texas. I asked Coach Ethridge what brought him to Oglesby and he said “My wife was hired to be the principal and I had coached with Jack Graves at Richland Springs, so I went to see if the school could use some help and the community graciously welcomed me as head coach”.

Coach Ethridge has won 3 State Championships at Richland Springs and coached in another vs Richland Springs with Follett, and he will be looking bring a championship mind frame to the Tigers. Coach Ethridge was destined to work for school as a coach, his parents were both teachers and his father was a coach as well; he tried other jobs, but didn’t find satisfaction that he receives on the field and in the classroom.

Among all the moving parts with the coaches a familiar face remains the same, former Graves assistant coach, and Oglesby alum Chris Villarreal will stay on with Coach Ethridge and help the players transition into their new system. Villarreal will be returning to the sidelines in his fourth season and his familiarity with the team should help keep the players
focused.

Key Losses

RB Jacob Farrell, WB/S Charles Graves, End Hunter Ballard, QB Dylan Dillard

Oglesby lost a large portion of their team that has contributed to the success the Tigers have had over the past four seasons. Coach Ethridge will need to instill his leadership and faith into a young squad.

Key Returners

Jose Mata, Levi Ewing, Skyler Frillou, and Nick Norrell
Coach Ethridge said “to establish a winning foundation with experienced play , it can take 1-2 years, but if you have a younger inexperienced team it could be 3-4”. The young group of Tigers will experience some growing pains during the pre-season, but should should be ready to make a push for the playoffs once they reach district play.

The Verdict

Coach Ethridge believes that “in 6-man if you have 3 athletes and you put them into positions to make plays, then you can win ball games, and I believe we can do that with this group”. The Tigers are in a district with powerhouse Calvert, Buckholts, and Prairie Lea, and will likely find themselves in a battle for second place. They will get to take the field for the first time under Coach Ethridge, next Friday as they head to Mullin for their first scrimmage.

 

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