Everything went according to the plan during coach Lance West’s first season back at Collinsville. The Cardinals surprised and went 9-1 during the regular season before losing in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs. Despite only returning six starters, the expectations haven’t changed much.
"Our goal this year is for a home playoff game,” senior Jayce Crowder said. "We won’t settle for anything less.” Collinsville has at least one advantage in its schedule. It will host Grove and Oologah. All three are expected to contend for the district title.
GROVE DEFENSE TO LEAD THE WAYGrove was one pass away from reaching the 4A state championship but lost to Bishop McGuinness in the final seconds of last year’s semifinals. That’s something Grove hasn’t forgotten and something it is using for motivation. Last year’s district title was Grove’s first since 1991. The strength of last year’s team was defense, and it will be again this year. Grove returns six starters defensively, led by linebackers Bobby Harris and Trent Phillips. Harris had 156 tackles last season. Phillips had 119 tackles.
DUNN TO BE A FORCE FOR OOLOGAHNew Oologah coach Brandon Craig has a lot to be excited about. Oologah returns 18 starters from a team that made last year’s playoffs. Running back Caleb Dunn will be back. Dunn missed most of his junior season because of injury. Craig said Dunn is a tremendous leader and an extremely hard worker.
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District 4A-3 coaches’ poll→1. Grove (12-1) →2. Oologah (6-5) →3. Collinsville (9-2) →4. Jay (5-5) →5. Vinita (3-7) →6. Tulsa McLain (6-5) →7. Catoosa (2-8) →8. Locust Grove (3-7)