OXFORD – Jeff Newton played his high school football at Norwich, four years of college football at Ithaca, and for the previous nine seasons, served as a head coach or assistant coach at Sherburne-Earlville.
The Marauders play in Section III, so Newton freely admitted he did not keep close tabs on Oxford football. "Being in Sherburne, you're worrying about your own team and what's upcoming there," Newton said. "So I really didn't follow Oxford on a weekly basis."
If Newton had followed Oxford football, he would have seen a once proud program that has performed significantly below its usual standards. Since John Curtis' last year at the helm in 2006 – one that yielded a 6-3 record – Oxford has followed with just one winning season over the last seven, and zero playoff appearances.
Yes, zero appearances in the playoffs on the heels of an 11-year run by Curtis in which Oxford won three Section IV championships, and appeared in three other sectional championship games.
Oxford is coming off a one-win season, so it would be natural if Newton and his coaching staff looked to make baby steps in the rebuilding process. "My goal this year is for us to make the playoffs and to go far in the playoffs," Newton said. "The ultimate goal is to reach the dome (Carrier Dome) for the state championships. What was clear to me early on is that there is talent here. Our first week of practice was about setting the tone, and to teach the kids about dedication and hard work."