Last year's District 6A-1 was one of the craziest districts with so many teams in contention and beating each other up.
It might even be worse this year. Five teams (Midwest City, Edmond Memorial, Putnam City North, Yukon and Lawton Eisenhower) made the playoffs last year while Norman North should also be in the hunt. Add in improved Choctaw and Moore teams, and this is an ultra-competitive district that the coaches have picked Midwest City to win.
Austin leading MWC charge
Midwest City junior running back James Flanders should emerge as one of the top backs in the class this year. His success should mean even better things for senior quarterback Greg Austin.
A first-year starter last year, Austin went through ups and downs but has emerged as one of the top 10 quarterback prospects.
"I definitely feel a lot more comfortable," Austin said. "We've got some great receivers. It's going to be fun on offense."
Austin amassed more than 2,100 yards of offense and 23 touchdowns last year.
Chambers a name to watch for Memorial
The defense has been the pride for Edmond Memorial in recent years and that shouldn't change.
Defensive tackle Connor Myers turned heads all summer at recruiting camps, but Myers said the name people should be watching for is Jared Chambers.
"He had some good moments last year and people might know him, but this is definitely the year for him to make things happen," Myers said.
Chambers had 71 tackles and four sacks last season.
PC North offensive line progressing
With only two returning starters on the offensive line, it was unclear just what the unit would look like as Putnam City North tries to make a deeper playoff run than last year's first-round exit.
Along with left tackle Daniel Burton, the line is anchored by senior Andy Bates, a returning starter at center. A reliable blocker, Bates showed great consistency on shotgun snaps with the switch to a spread offense last year.
Overall, quarterback Jace James has been pleased with the progress of his front five.
"I've been pretty impressed," James said. "They're coming along well, still working at it and getting better."
Wilson pleased with Yukon's improvement
Yukon coach Todd Wilson saw progress from his team in its second scrimmage against a strong Class 6A opponent.
After scrimmaging Southmoore, Broken Arrow and Putnam City last week, the Millers visited Del City on Thursday, and Wilson thought the team improved in all areas.
"We were better this week than we were last week, so hopefully that's a good sign," the coach said. "I thought we threw ball well. (Quarterback Corben Jones) made some good decisions.
"Defensively, we held out a guy or two, and the good thing was that the guys who hadn't been playing much did a good job. We were tackling better this week."
Timberwolves anxious to get back out there
Norman North was one of the more disappointing teams in the state last year. Expected to be a top-10 team in the class, the Timberwolves won their first four games.
But the wheels fell off and North lost its final five games and a shot at the playoffs.
Coach Lance Manning's club has been helped with the addition of former Millwood RB Emilio Gatewood, and it's going to be the seniors that lead the way.
"This is our year," senior Zac Pierce said. "The seniors — we've been playing a long time together, and we want to make something special happen."
Durant anchors Ike backfield
With some experienced players returning at running back and receiver, Lawton Eisenhower has the freedom to utilize running back Louis Durant in a number of ways.
In Thursday night's Pigskin Preview at Mustang, Durant got the ball on handoffs and caught passes out of the backfield and as a slot receiver.
Durant was one of the Eagles' most productive players last year, rushing for 681 yards and eight touchdowns.
"He's a solid running back," coach Boone Copeland said. "We feel good. Offensively, we've done well."
Choctaw's Bennett a key to success
Choctaw has one of the top prospects in the state in Tulsa commit Hunter Davis at defensive end. But just as vital to the team's success is going to be senior Corey Bennett.
The running back was impressive in the team's scrimmages and figures to play a bigger role after rushing for just under 400 yards and four scores.