The Commandos have been so dominant in the past few years, the only debate in Class 3A is usually who will finish second in the class.
After three straight state championships not much has changed. Cascia Hall is primed for a fourth consecutive crown, thanks to a defense that could very well be the best in 3A. With stars such as linebacker Conner Sherwood and defensive lineman Hunter Hart, the Commandos may be even better than the 2009 group that allowed just 8.0 points per game.
However, if there's a weak link in Cascia's armor this season its experience. A total of eight starters return, but the team lost its starting quarterback, leading receiver, leading rusher and top offensive lineman.
Berryhill could challenge
With Class 4A state champion Star Spencer dropping into 3A, the Bobcats are thought of as a squad that could half Cascia Hall's string of titles. However, the Commandos won't even have to go out of their district to find another team plenty of folks think could take the gold ball.
Berryhill has the athletes, the numbers and the past success. The question will be confidence. The Chiefs went 11-3 last season — two of those losses coming to Cascia Hall. What's more, Berryhill scored a six points in the two games combined.
Still, the team returns 10 starters from 2009 and has one of the state's top players in any class in Justin Finney. Finney is a 6-3, 270-pound senior who starts on the offensive and defensive lines. He already has a Division I-A offer and has been contacted by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Tulsa.
A new start in Kellyville
After failing to win in its last 20 games, Kellyville will have a fresh start in 2010 as Jason Culler takes over as head coach.
Culler, who is taking the reins as the head man for the first time in his career, will have at least one thing in his favor as the Ponies try to begin an era of success. Kellyville has experienced players all over the field.
Nine starters return on offense, and eight are back on defense. Senior Kenny Anderson will be counted on heavily. The running back/nose guard is just 5-5 and 180 pounds, but, says Culler, Anderson has "A heart as big as Texas."
Beck leads Nowata
In Austin Beck, Nowata has a premier player who could play at any level. The 6-5, 308-pounder already has committed to Arkansas and had offers from the likes of Missouri, Kansas, Baylor and Illinois.
The combination of Beck and linebacker Tim Farris gives the Ironmen a great chance for a winning record and postseason appearance in 2010. The team is coming off a 3-7 record, but has nine starters back on offense and 10 on defense.
District 3A-5 coaches' poll 1. Cascia Hall (13-0) 2. Berryhill (11-3) 3. Sperry (8-5) 4. Dewey (8-5) 5. Nowata (3-7) 6. Blackwell (1-9) 7. Kellyville (0-10) 2009 record in parentheses