For a relatively new school, Oasis has been in transition for nearly its entire existence. Beginning its fifth year, the Sharks have been in numerous football situations.
First, the school joined a six-man football league for two years (2010-2011). Present coach Jason Bowman led the team those two years, going 2-7 the first year, and improving to 7-2 the second year. As enrollment increased (now up to 700 students), the school aspired for bigger and better things.
Bowman moved into the athletic director's role, and, for the 2012 season Oasis moved up to 11-man football. They brought in a new coach, and struggled through a first year against teams with bigger players, more players, and more experience. Some turmoil also caused the Sharks' head coach to resign, so Bowman since resumed the head coaching duties.
Playing in the district they were in last year was difficult.
"If you saw the scores of last year's games, you could see that we were outmatched," Bowman said.
The disparity between the Sharks and their opponents was all too painful. So Bowman set about finding a group of schools with which they could be competitive, play with their own caliber of players. What resulted was 10 independent schools coming together to form a conference.
(All games 7:30 p.m.)
Aug. 30 - at Marco Island
Sept. 6 - vs. St. John Neumann
Sept. 13 - at Barrington Christian
Sept. 27 - at Canterbury.
Oct. 4 - at St. Stephen's
Oct. 10 - at Northwest Christian
Oct. 18 - vs. Lawrence Academy
Oct. 25 - at Gateway
Nov. 1 - vs. C.S. Naples
n Head coach: Jason Bowman ('13) 3rd year overall (9-9)
n Assistants: Craig Crouthamel (OC), Jimmy Magas (DC/OL/DL), Steve Boesch (DB), Mick Ware (special teams).
n Home Field: Storms Complex
n Class: Independent (2nd year 11-man)
n Playoff History: 2011 (6-man) - Academy Lakes 28, Oasis 27.
Home: 1-2 Away: 0-5
Oasis 52, Marco Island Academy 0
St. John Neumann 45, Oasis 0
C.S. Naples 57, Oasis 0
Gateway Charter 49, Oasis 0
SWFC 46, Oasis 6
The FHSAA has 65 independent schools this year. This new conference includes five from the East Coast, and five from the West. Local schools involved this year are Canterbury, Community School of Naples, Gateway Charter, Saint Stephen's Episcopal (Bradenton) and Oasis. Canterbury went through the same growing pains, playing in the six-man league until last year, then tackling the 11-man game.
Oasis' season includes eight games. In their newly formed conference, there will be a four-team playoff with the top two teams from the East Coast playing the top two teams from the West (#1 East vs. #2 West, and #1 West vs. #2 East). The winners play for the conference championship.
"We are basically starting anew," Bowman said.
The departure of last year's coach has taken time to rebuild even what they had last year. The 2012 first day turnout was about 50 players. This year it was around 30.
"We're sophomore heavy. A lot of our guys got plenty of playing time as freshmen," Bowman said.
With the new beginning of the program, and a shift in scheduling to more competitive teams, Bowman has set his team goals "to be competitive in each game we play. We'd like to go into the second half with an opportunity to win each game."
Gone, he hopes, are the blowout games where the outcome is decided in the first half. Instead, will be games that match teams from smaller schools whose programs are still in development.
Some of the players the Sharks are looking to this year include senior Matt Dressel, who plays strong safety; junior Zack Magas, who goes both ways as cornerback and runningback; and sophomores Marc Lorenz, defensive end, and Craig Krempski, linebacker and runningback.
The Sharks play their home games at the Storms Field on Chiquita Boulevard.