Chickasha coach Rick Van Cleave didn't consider receiver Jaree Blakes a starter going into last season. He changed his mind quickly enough after watching Blakes play.
"It was quite a surprise to all of us last year when he broke out," Van Cleave said. "He worked really hard and pushed himself the entire offseason to do it."
It was quite the turnaround for Blakes, who wasn't expected to be a factor on the team.
"When he came here he was lacking speed, strength and he didn't catch well," Van Cleave said. "Now his hands are outstanding, and he's added a lot of speed."
Blakes is likely to attract double teams from opposing squads, something that will open up the field for his teammates.
"Because of Blakes' success, our other guys will get a lot of one-on-one," Van Cleave said. "He needs to work on some little things, but he's looked really good so far. He didn't get complacent with the success of last year."
Durant hoping to avoid injury bug
Last year injuries got the best of the Durant Lions, culminating in a late-season game when the team had six starters in street clothes.
"It doesn't matter how good you are, you can't have injuries and be competitive," Durant coach Byron Cordell said. "We've got to stay healthy this year."
His team has a chance to win the district title if they avoid injury, Cordell said.
5A-2 Coaches poll 1. Duncan (8-3) 2. Lawton-MacArthur (7-4) 3. Ardmore (4-7) 4. Altus (4-7) 5. Chickasha (4-6) 6. Durant (4-6) 7. Northwest Classen (0-10) 8. Capitol Hill (0-10)