Last season, 8-man football was dominated by two schools.
Laverne (Class B) and Tipton (Class C) both won state titles, with each team stacking up 14 straight wins on its way to a perfect season.
All indications suggest both teams come into 2013 confident they can continue to build on last season's accomplishments. Can they do it? Or will the success they've piled up come crashing down?
With several key components back, both will enter this season at the top of their class in The Oklahoman's rankings.
Laverne returns a potent backfield combination with quarterback Tucker Rolf, fullback Dalton Birch, and tailback Trevor Harris.
The three combined to rush for 478 yards in the state championship game, each going for more than 150 yards, as the Tigers beat Pond Creek-Hunter 50-19.
Laverne coach Tim Allen insists the formula for winning won't change.
“We'll just take it one game at a time,” said Allen. “The goal as a team is to win that first one and get better each week. That's how we've always done it. We respect everyone we play and prepare for them.”
For Tipton, senior linemen Josh Danna and Junior Guerrero are back to lead the way for a defense that surrendered less than three points per game — with 11 shutouts — last season. Junior quarterback Gerald White, who threw for 1,216 yards last season, heads the offense.
Tipton coach Jim Kerbo doesn't expect the high expectations to have a negative impact on his team, which returns seven starters on defense and five on offense.
“I don't see any complacency,” Kerbo said. “I didn't see the lack of commitment in the weight room over the summer. They liked what they did (last season) and their up for the challenge of trying to do it again.
“I haven't seen a letdown at all. I'm not saying there can't be during the season, but during the offseason I haven't seen it.”
Laverne plans to face the expectations by not focusing on them at all.
“We have our own goals,” Allen said. “Our goal is to win the first one, and then the district, and then get to that state championship game in week 14. I think it's important that we have a strong work ethic and a humble attitude.”