#CFCOVFL: JV Myers Riders’ Oickle moulded leader on defence

 

The junior varsity Ottawa Myers Riders are 6-0 this season, averaging 42.8 points per game during consistent blowouts.

The team’s stellar offence has often overshadowed its consistent defence, which has allowed just 18.6 points per game.

At the heart of the Myers Riders’ young defensive core, linebacker AJ Oickle can be found doing whatever it takes to help the team win.

Prior to the start of the season, Head Coach Matt Kassner said he was concerned about his team’s defence, since almost all of the experienced defensive players had moved on to the older age group.

“Our defensive players are going to have a lot to learn,” Kassner said. “It is going to be a process.”

Oickle, one of the lone second-year players on defence, has had to take on a leadership role within the squad. He says it is all about teaching the younger players what it means to be a Myers Rider.

“We have to make sure the first-year players know that they are trying to get a spot on a really established defence,” Oickle said. “Over the years, the Myers Riders have had the most feared defence in the league, so we have to maintain that.”

So far this season, Oickle is leading his team at solo tackles with 22. He says his coaches should be held responsible for making him the linebacker he is today.

“Coach ( Paul) Deek and coach Zak (Hamilton) moulded me into this linebacker that they had a vision for,” Oickle saod. “It is great.”

Oickle says though the defence is unexperienced, it actually stacks up well to what the Myers Riders fielded last year.

“Our biggest strength is definitely our run-stopping ability,” Oickle said. “We have some big boys up front.”

“We have some solid players, so it is pretty hard to run on us.”

For those watching Oickle play for the first time, it may be surprising to see how dominant he is on the field. In reality, it should not come as a shock considering his upbringing.”

“My dad and all of his brothers played football,” Oickle says. “They all could have played university football but did not have the money. I basically come from a football family.”

Over the years, Oickle has picked up several different positions, including defensive back and running back. Ultimately, he found his sweet spot at the linebacker position.

Going forward, Oickle is keeping his eyes firmly on the prize. Along with the rest of his team, he is striving for a championship.

 

 

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