GUTHRIE — Guthrie appears locked and loaded for another run at the Class 5A state championship.
The Bluejays, who were 11-2 last season and lost in the state semifinals, bring back 15 starters — seven on offense; eight on defense. The offensive line returns four starters, all seniors, including top prospect Blake Belcher (6-foot-5, 280 pounds). Belcher has offers from Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, Tulsa and Iowa State.
The fifth lineman — and the only non-senior — is junior Evan Plagg, who filled in for Belcher when he was hurt last season.
Junior quarterback Bryan Dutton is back after a stellar sophomore season, during which he threw for 2,408 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also rushed for 524 yards and five scores.
Dutton's top three receivers from last season — Kentrell Brothers, Devonte McCully and Tim Zupo — all graduated. But one potential target to watch is Clint Simek, a senior move-in from Prague who has good size (6-2, 205) and also will see playing time at safety. Simek is receiving interest from several Division I programs.
Senior Luke Davis will be the Bluejays' top running back this year. He rushed for 280 yards and two touchdowns last season. Sophomores Kai Callins and J.T. McFadden will also get carries.
Davis' playing time on offense was limited last year, but he was one of the Bluejays' leaders on defense at safety. He had 107 tackles and two interceptions last season, and has 242 tackles and six picks in his career.
The unquestioned leader, however, for the Guthrie defense is Landry Chappell. The 5-11, 220-pound linebacker had 178 tackles and five sacks last season and is a four-year starter. Bluejays coach Rafe Watkins called Chappell “one of the toughest young men that we have ever had here.”