When Jason Bowman started the football program from scratch two years ago at Oasis High School, he had high ambitions to be able to play traditional 11-on-11 this year.
Those ambitions came up short, resulting in Oasis returning to play six-man in the Florida Christian Association of Private & Parochial Schools (FCAPPS) Southern Conference.
"I really thought we would be able to move up to an 11-on-11 schedule," said Bowman, "but we just didn't get the number of kids we anticipated given the amount we had in our first year."
That first year was a tough one, but also a relative success.
Only 20 players are allowed on a six-man team. Of the 20 that showed up in 2010, 16 never played football before.
"Last year was all about learning the mechanics of football, how you play the game from a physical and position standpoint, along with just the rules of the game," Bowman said of the program's growing pains. "This year, most of those kids are back and are more physically mature. There is a huge learning curve from basically learning the game from scratch last year and having a full season under our belts as a program. This year I think we can make the playoffs."
Giving the coach such high hopes are a trio of players on offense who also have grown in size. Joe Pascale worked as a safety last year, but has been converted into a linebacker and runningback. John Callahan has converted from defense to wide receiver and runningback Austin Beach returns after a solid rookie season.
"We don't expect his stats (Beach) to be as high as they were last year," said Bowman. "Because we are taking a step-by-step approach to implementing our program, the offense will be different. It will be more complicated and we will be able to spread the ball around more instead of relying offensively on just a few plays offensively."
To meet the end goal of growing the program to the point Oasis can compete in the 11-man leagues, Bowman has a plan.
"After this season is over, I will be going to our 8th graders at the middle school to find out how many will be wanting to play football," he said. "We are going to need at least 15 freshmen to strongly consider moving up to an 11-man roster and play that schedule."
The Sharks' season gets rolling on Sept. 9 when they travel across the bridge to play Florida Christian Institute in Fort Myers.
Sept. 9 - at Florida Christian Institute, TBA
Sept. 16 - vs. Nicea Academy, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 - at Island Christian, 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 30 - vs. Golden Rule Academy, 4 p.m.
Oct. 7 - vs. Miami Christian, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 - at Miami Westwood, TBA
Oct. 21 - vs. Donahue (Ave Maria), 7 p.m.
Oct. 28 - at Cape Coral Christian, TBA
Nov. 4 - vs. Canterbury, 7 p.m.
Nov. 11 - regional playoff
Head coach: Jason Bowman ('10), second year (2-5)
Assistants: Sean Montoney (def. coord./LB/DB), Ed Callahan (linemen); Jim Magas (RB/WR).
Field: Storms Complex
Class: FCAPPS Southern Conference 6-Man
Playoff History: none.
Sharks Record: 2-5
Home: 2-1 Away: 0-4
Oasis 42, Miami Westwood 12
Donahue Academy 27, Oasis 13
Oasis 34, Island Christian 20
Canterbury 47, Oasis 27
Miami Christian 4-, Oasis 24
Cape Coral Christian 64, Oasis 13
Naples Nicea Academy 53, Oasis 29