The Oakleaf Knights will begin their 2023 football season against the in-county rival Orange Park Raiders at home on August 25.
Oakleaf finished the 2022 season with a 5-5 overall record and a 1-3 record in 4S District 3 play. Oakleaf will look very different from last year as the team will have a new head coach and a new quarterback.
Christopher Foy was hired as the new head coach of Oakleaf last December. Foy has 28 years of experience, has a 90-21 record as a head coach and has coached 100 college football players. His Andrew Jackson team had playoff appearances in 2021 and 2022, along with a District Championship. Foy fills in for Marcus Miller, who served as the school’s interim head coach and athletic director after Frank Garis resigned two months before the 2022 season started.
The Knights will also have a new face at the quarterback position after Drew Ammon, who had 1,680 passing yards and 18 passing touchdowns graduated last May. Senior quarterback Brandon Wallace looks to be the new man under center for the Knights in 2023. Wallace saw limited snaps in 2022 but had 62 passing yards on seven attempts, two passing touchdowns and 208 rushing yards. Despite the limited action, Wallace has impressed coaches at camps throughout the summer and will look to pick up what Ammon did for the team last year.
Wallace will have a reliable receiver returning in Carlos Witherup. The speedy slot receiver is the lone returning receiver who caught more than one pass in 2022. Witherup had 26 receptions for 426 yards and six touchdowns, along with 22 rushing yards.
Heading to the defense, team-leading tackler Drake Stubbs transferred to Mandarin and many starters graduated in May. However, the team has two dominant starters returning for 2023 in linebacker Da’Jon Brown and defensive back Bryson Keitt. Brown was everywhere for the Oakleaf defense in 2022. Brown was second on the team in tackles with 81, led the team in tackles for loss with 12, led the team in sacks with four, led the team in forced fumbles with five, one interception and one fumble recovery, according to MaxPreps. Keitt had 41 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, two passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.