The 2009 football season was ugly for Tulsa Washington, which was favored to repeat as Class 5A champ, but a recruiting controversy resulted in forfeits and no playoff appearance.
This fall, with a new coach and multiple college prospects, the Hornets are focused once again on the gold ball.
Coach Darrell Hall's new squad will be led by Kansas State oral commit Tyler Lockett and other top seniors, Dante Barnett and Derrick Alexander, as they try to erase the memory of last season.
"Last season was really frustrating," Alexander said. "But it motivated this year's seniors even more to win it all."
The Hornets are viewed as the unanimous District 5A-3 favorites, and several coaches predicted them No. 1 in their 5A preseason list.
Kelley looking for QB
An impressive group of returning offensive players has just about everything, except for a quarterback.
Tulsa Bishop Kelley coach J.J. Tappana is monitoring a battle between three juniors and a sophomore to see who will lead an offense that is anchored by a strong offensive line and talented backfield.
Junior Alex Maguire rushed for 700 yards as a sophomore and could elevate himself to one of the top rushers in 5A.
Senior Will Saint, 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, is a three-year starter on the offensive line.
Kelley was No. 2 in 5A in points allowed last season, and Tappana expects his defensive team speed to be improved this year.
High expectations for Kiefer, Buffs
Despite returning four starters on offense and three on defense, McAlester is still considered a team that could challenge for a home playoff berth this season. A big reason for that is Tony Kiefer.
As a sophomore quarterback, Kiefer produced 1,807 passing yards, 1,236 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns. McAlester finished 10-2.
He has a pair of receivers returning in Alvery Braxton and Cody Lefors, who combined for more than 900 yards and nine TDs.
The Tulsa Hale defense will rely heavily on linemen Kenneth Catholic, 6-2, 220 pounds, and Justin Hunter, 5-10, 235 pounds. Both are both drawing some NCAA Division I recruiting interest. ... Skiatook's Connor Appelberg faces some interesting double-duty this fall. The 6-3, 215-pound junior is expected to start at quarterback and defensive end.
District 5A-3 coaches poll 1. Tulsa Washington (5-5) 2. Tulsa Kelley (11-1) 3. McAlester (10-2) 4. Tulsa Memorial (2-8) 5. Collinsville (6-5) 6. Tulsa Hale (6-5) 7. Skiatook (1-9) 8. Tulsa Rogers (0-10) 2009 record in parentheses