Colcord had a rough start to 2008 on their way to a 6-4 and their first absence from the playoffs since 2002.
The Hornets lost three district games, including two one-point losses. Colcord finished strong, including a victory against district champ Vian, and coach Bud Simmons said the team is looking to pick up where it left off.
“For as poorly as we started we really put it together late,” Simmons said. “We can definitely take some positives from that and build on it to be competitive all season.”
One of the primary reasons for Simmons' optimism is the team's experience. The Hornets return 13 starters, eight on offense including the entire backfield.
“We've been young for two years and we're going to be a mature team this year,” Simmons said. “We have a lot of kids who have been through the fire.”
Taylor leads Vian's hopes of repeat title
Vian's surprise District 8 title last season was due in part to the arrival of running back Dylan Taylor, who led the Wolverines to a 10-3 record with a 6-1 mark in district play.
Taylor, at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, finished 2008 with 1,922 rushing yards and 27 touchdowns on 10.8 yards per carry in his first season after moving from Nebraska.
“He does a great job for us, he runs really hard,” coach Brandon Tyler said. “We're looking for another big year from him. He has gained a lot of interest.”
Taylor has garnered interest from several small colleges but he has also been courted by Kansas State, Colorado State and OSU.
Tyler said he hoped Taylor and 14 returning starters can help break in new quarterback Colby Ross and make a run at a repeat title in a tough district.
Littlehead, big talent for Indians
Sequoyah-Tahlequah has long been a powerhouse in Class 2A and this year should be no different as the Indians return 28 seniors and 15 starters to a squad that went 10-2 and 6-1 in district play last season.
One of the primary keys to the Indians' season will be the play of freshman quarterback Brayden Scott. Scott may have a short time to adjust but he will have one of the state's top players protecting him while he does.
Senior OL/DL Chris Littlehead is the Indian's leader on both sides of the ball and Littlehead might be an insufficient last name for the 6-foot-4, 310 pounder. He has offers from more than a dozen Division I schools, including Big 12 members OSU, Baylor, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State.