Oakton quarterback

Chris Neary returns as a key starter for Oakton. (File Photo by Deb Kolt)

Expectations are realistic for the Oakton Cougars this fall.

Having finished 0-10 with many blow-out losses in 2018, Mel Morgan was hired during the offseason as the new head coach to rebuild the high-school football team. Understanding that the process takes time, Morgan and the players set a modest goal of being more overall competitive in games this fall, which they believe is attainable.

“We want to stay relevant in games, and compete hard for four quarters and see what happens in the end,” said Morgan, who is Oakton’s third head coach in as many seasons. “We want to win the first play, the first series, the first quarter and keep going. We want to be in position to win or hang on to win.”

Oakton opens at home, Friday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. against the Fairfax Rebels.

“This first season in the early going is all about attitude and excitement and believing in ourselves for us,” Morgan said. “There is a lot of learning going on right now, with our seniors eager to do a lot of things. We are getting better.”

Some top returning players for Oakton are quarterbacks Nick Toole and Chris Neary, who likely will play on defense as well. Running back and defender Ian Roudybush, is another along with Alex Richlin and Chris Zinzi.

“We are telling the players that every little thing they do, and do right, could be the spark for us,” Morgan said.

SCHEDULE: Friday, Aug. 30 vs. Fairfax, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 at South Lakes, 7; Friday, Sept. 13 vs. West Potomac, 7; Friday, Sept. 20 at W.T. Woodson, 7; Friday, Sept. 27 at Langley, 7; Friday, Oct.  4 vs. Lake Braddock, 7; Friday, Oct. 11 vs. Centreville, 7; Friday, Oct. 18 vs. Westfield, 7; Friday, Oct. 25 at Chantilly, 7; Friday, Nov. 1 vs. Madison, 7.

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