After spending the last 14 years as an assistant coach at Stillwater, Craig Church is excited about what's ahead in his new job as head coach at Piedmont.
“We've got a good group of seniors,” Church said. “I think we've got a chance to surprise some people. We'll see if it all jells together.”
Church moved Collin Bricker from tight end to quarterback, which gives the Wildcats some talented athletes in the backfield, along with running back Cassius Calhoun.
Church plans to install the same type of spread offense he ran at Stillwater, which was extremely productive, especially in the last two seasons.
“We'll be a spread offense, kind of a pace offense,” Church said. “No huddle, speed it up, slow it down, spread the ball around.”
POLLY READY TO BUILD PROGRAM AT WESTERN HEIGHTS
Ed Polly has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at Western Heights, and now he gets the chance to implement his ideas for how to turn the program into a winner.
Polly took over for Kevin Ball, who left to take a job in Arkansas.
“We're a work in progress,” Polly said. “Our experience is going to be on the line, but we're young everywhere else, so there's gonna be some growing pains, especially with the district we're in.”
Sophomore Gage Hughes will be at quarterback for the Jets, with Triston Clark anchoring the line. Senior Dante Rocco will provide senior leadership at receiver and defensive back, with several young players around him, like Gerard Amir.
CASHION DOESN'T EXPECT DROP-OFF
Cashion lost a large piece of its success the last two seasons when quarterback Jeremy Seaton graduated, but the Wildcats aren't afraid of facing a drop-off this year.
“We have experience coming back at all the skill positions and on the offensive line,” coach Lynn Shackelford said. “On defense, we have experience on the line and in the secondary. That should allow us to be able to compete in every game we play this year.”
Ty Reasnor, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound junior, steps in at quarterback, with seniors Taylor Cochran and Britt Basler returning at receiver.
T.J. Martin leads the run game behind an offensive line anchored by 6-foot-4, 300-pound junior Dexton Robinson.
CRESCENT LINEMAN REFINES TECHNIQUE
Crescent senior lineman Tanner James made it a point to go to the OU and OSU camps as well as the team camp Crescent attended during the summer.
The events gave James a boost going into this season.
“I took a lot away from them,” he said. “You see better athletes than what you see every week during the season when you go to a camp like that.
“You also learn a lot about technique and get reps against a different level of player. It's definitely a big help.”
Crescent is looking to build on last season's 9-3 mark.
“Discipline's the big key for us this year,” James said. “We've got players in spots where we can be successful again. We've just got to keep working and do things the right way.”
SOUTHWEST COVENANT REPLACING EXPERIENCE
When an eight-man team loses six seniors, it's a big impact, and that's what Southwest Covenant is facing this season.
The Patriots have some holes to fill, but senior linebacker/fullback Michael Chapman is confident coach Bill Martin and his staff will have the young players ready to step in.
“We're having to replace a lot of experience,” Chapman said. “But we have great coaches who are able to communicate to us well how to play the game. We're really looking forward to playing teams and seeing how we're going to match up.
“It's kind of a building year, but at the same time, we're bigger than we were last year, so that will be a plus.”