Back in business: Oxbridge football officially seeking varsity games for 2023

Varsity football is officially on the way back for Oxbridge Academy.

A posting in the FHSAA Classifieds confirmed the ThunderWolves are seeking varsity football games for the 2023 regular season, a move which would end the school's four-season football hiatus.

"We played a JV-only schedule with fewer than 10 players with high school football experience," Oxbridge coach John Stellman said in the ad. "Currently, we project to have one player on the 2023 roster with experience at the varsity level."

The West Palm Beach private school dissolved all football programs in June 2018 due to a "decline in participation rates," citing that Oxbridge could no longer field an "adequate number of football players to sustain a safe football program."

Stellman led the ThunderWolves as associate head coach and defensive coordinator from 2015 to 2017 and returned to Oxbridge in March 2022.

"We hope to schedule schools of a similar size (475) and with a similar current reality," Stellman added, requesting that interested coaches and program contact him via email or cell.

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The Oxbridge Academy Thunderwolves celebrate after the end of the second half of the Class 3A state semi-final game between Oxbridge Academy and Florida State University High at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday, November 24, 2017. Final score, Oxbridge 41, FSU High, 0. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)
The Oxbridge Academy Thunderwolves celebrate after the end of the second half of the Class 3A state semi-final game between Oxbridge Academy and Florida State University High at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Friday, November 24, 2017. Final score, Oxbridge 41, FSU High, 0. (Andres Leiva / The Palm Beach Post)

Oxbridge's reality now isn't what it once was.

The ThunderWolves' junior varsity team finished 5-2, its only losses a season-opening shutout from South Fork and a narrow four points given up to Benjamin weeks later. The results were enough to get the go-ahead for a born-again varsity squad.

Oxbridge was previously led by Doug Socha, who currently coaches Keiser University's football team. Socha founded the Keiser program in 2016 and is now preparing the Seahawks for their first NAIA national championship appearance.

Between 2013 and 2017, the ThunderWolves went 49-10, collecting two independent league championships before moving to the FHSAA state series in 2015.

Oxbridge made three consecutive region final appearances before their last game to date: the 2017 Class 3A title matchup, falling to Chaminade-Madonna by three points.

“We plan to build a program that the entire Oxbridge community will take pride in for years to come," Stellman said in March, "honored" to be the one commissioned with rewriting the narrative for ThunderWolves football.

The Post has reached out to Stellman and Oxbridge Academy for further comment.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Oxbridge Academy football officially seeking varsity games for 2023