Tigers' seniors hope to keep streak alive
Maud has won 29 straight district games, the second-longest streak in the state behind Shattuck. Fifth-year coach Bruce Harrell has also gone 35-9 in his time at the school. He has two seniors who have been a large part of his on-the-field success.
"Shane Bailey and Cody Williams have never lost a district game," Harrell said. "They have 23 wins and no losses in this district and have only lost one regular-season game in their career."
Bailey plays QB and CB and had 84 tackles last year and carried the ball for 905 yards for 22 touchdowns.
Three-year starting quarterback Andrew Bell threw over 100 touchdowns in his career at Claremore Christian and has now graduated. On a team that throws the ball 95 percent of the time, those are big shoes to fill.
Isaac Thorne is next in line to start. At 6-foot-3, he's a few inches taller than Bell, but he will be stepping into a large responsibility as first-year starter.
Coach Ryan Mullins said Claremore also will have to deal with depth issues.
"We have one returning starter across the front and have mostly freshman and sophomore penciled in there," Mullins said. "We're a small school — only about 16 kids come out."
Last season freshman Chase Tharp led Bluejacket in tackles with 66 and recovered three fumbles. At 5'6," he isn't the typical linebacker, but he makes up for his size elsewhere.
"Chase plays with a lot of heart, is a team leader and a hard worker," said Chieftains coach Ronnie Simmons. "He lost his father when he was younger and you can tell he plays with a passion to please his coaches."