At the start of the 2010 season, the Douglass Trojans were full of disappointment that had turned into motivation after getting beat in the state championship game the season before.
After winning the title last December, Douglass coach Willis Alexander worried that the motivation would wane. But he hasn't seen any signs of it so far.
“At first, I thought when we achieved the goal of winning a state championship, it really concerned me,” Alexander said. “But the kids wanted to get right back to work. It wasn't hard to motivate them and keep them motivated.
“They couldn't wait to get to spring practice, to get back into football mode.”
Still, Alexander offered the players some motivational goals.
“What's gonna be your mark when you leave here? What are you gonna be able to say?” Alexander asked them. “This senior class has a chance to be the winningest class in school history over a four-year cycle. They've averaged 10 wins a year since they've been here.”
Another motivational tool was the opportunity to play on national television in the Kirk Herbstreit Kickoff Classic at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Trojans will face DeSoto (Texas) High School at 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 in a game broadcast on Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37).
But ultimately, the desire to win another gold ball is what pushed the Trojans.
“We're not satisfied at all,” said senior lineman Diamonte McClellan. “We want to win state again, so we know we've got to get better. One isn't enough for us.”
McClellan will be part of the position group with perhaps the most importance to the Trojans' state title hopes. He is one of four players who either started or got significant playing time on the offensive line.
Arizona commit Cayman Bundage leads the way, along with McClellan, Camron Dizer and Elijah Williams. They'll be blocking for the running back duo of Dion'Tay Washington and Chaves Wyatt, who will split carries. Senior Chris Compton takes over at quarterback
“We're excited about our backfield,” Alexander said. “We feel like we have a couple good running backs. Chris is a kid who waited his turn and bided his time, and he has his opportunity now.
“This is just another step in his maturation process.”
And really, the whole team must show some maturity, putting last year out of their minds and focusing on the task ahead.
“Last year's team is last year's team,” Alexander said. “This team is not the same as last year. Even when you have the same kids, they come back different.
“But these guys haven't worn their championship rings. They have the attitude that last year is in the past, and we have to go forward.”