Replacing Jack GrayChandler senior Brandon Cummings is going to be counted on to replace Jack Gray, who did it all for Chandler in 2008, leading the Lions to a Class 2A runner-up finish. Gray passed for 1,603 yards, rushed for 898 yards and combined for 36 touchdowns (21 passing, 15 rushing). His impact was felt just as much on defense, where he amassed 104 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks from his safety spot. Cummings is a three-year starter at linebacker and was Gray’s backup in 2008, seeing limited action at quarterback in blowouts. "He’s the same type of kid as far as leadership,” Chandler coach Neal Bacon said. "I’ve always wanted to be in the position where we aren’t completely breaking in a new quarterback.”
Simek to take over for PragueFormer Prague quarterback Dakota Harris accumulated more than 10,000 total yards for the Red Devils, but coach Charles Atchison said he is not worried about finding a replacement. Sophomore Clint Simek will be asked to take over. Simek is the younger brother of Denton Simek, who made an oral commitment to Texas Tech last week. "Clint has a lot of tools that are going to make him someone to watch,” Atchison said. "We’ll miss Dakota because he meant a lot to the program, but Clint can do a lot of things, too.” Atchison said if the team can stay healthy, Prague will be able to compete with the best teams in 2A. Prague reached the second round of the playoffs last year despite losing five guys to season-ending injuries.
Cummings has career tackle record in sightCummings could become Chandler’s all-time leading tackler this season. The senior has more than 340 tackles in his first three years as a starter, an average of more than 110 per season, including 113 in 2008. "We expect him to be our best linebacker,” Bacon said. "If he stays healthy, we think he has a chance to break it.” Jon Evans, who was an Oklahoman Little All-City linebacker as a senior in 2006, is Chandler’s all-time leader with 454 tackles.
High expectationsEufaula is returning seven starters from last year’s 9-3 team, but district coaches still picked the Ironheads to finish second in District 2A-5 behind Chandler. Returning starter TiAndre Nichols-Wade will be counted on to be a key playmaker for Eufaula. Receivers Marquez Shine and Willie Adams are also expected to be key contributors.
Overlooked talentClint’s older brother Denton Simek is one of the top players in Class 2A. The Prague offensive lineman was a big reason Harris was so successful. Simek helped the Prague offense average 26.6 points and 390.8 yards per game in 2008. The recent Texas Tech commitment also added 67 tackles and one sack as a defensive tackle.
Replacing Jack Gray