Mount St. Mary has a new football coach, Chris Stiles, who is trying to raise the program's expectation level.
A huge key for the Rockets if they are to improve on last year's 2-8 record will be the play of their senior running backs.
Jo Jo Reis-Herron will carry the load after rushing for over 1,000 yards as a junior last season. He also placed third in the 100-meters at the state track meet.
But Stiles has three other senior running backs that he says can contribute — Chris Zims, Justin Calloway and Zach Womack. All three are starters on defense, with Calloway at defensive end and Zims and Womack at linebacker.
ZAVALA MOVES TO QB FOR SANTA FE SOUTH
Santa Fe South had quite a void to fill with the graduation of quarterback Jameson Ballenger from last year's squad, but Ivan Zavala has stepped into the role well — at least in the eyes of his top receiver.
“He has a great arm, great accuracy,” said senior Abraham Luna. “If he feels pressure, he can run it. He has good speed. I think he'll step in at quarterback pretty good.”
Luna, one of the area's top wideouts last year, has even higher hopes this season. He had 1,037 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last year.
“I've been going to camps and I feel like I'm running faster than I did last year,” Luna said. “Ivan has the arm to throw deep and we've been working on it all summer.”
SW CHRISTIAN TAKES AIM AT TITLE
This is the year Southwest Christian has been looking forward to for a few years.
“With the team we've got, with the Vanover twins as the focus of our offense, everything's been building toward this year,” Eagles coach John Drake said. “We think we've got a good chance of winning state this year.”
Jon Vanover threw for more than 2,400 yards and 32 touchdowns and ran for nearly 800 and 14 scores last season, as well as catching a pair of touchdown passes.
Jordan Vanover had more than 1,200 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns, ran for a pair of scores and threw for two.
PATRIOTS' SIKES COMING OFF BUSY SUMMER
Senior Garrett D. Sikes of the homeschool OKC Patriots is hoping his successful summer carries over into football season.
Sikes was a member of the OKC Sandlot summer baseball team that won the Connie Mack Oklahoma state championship and finished third in the AABC South Plains regional tournament.
Sikes is a running back and linebacker for the Patriots. He and fellow senior Keith Justus each rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season.
“Running the ball will be one of our strengths,” Sikes said. “Our defensive line is looking better, too.
“We lost our quarterback and both of our cornerbacks, but we replaced them with people who are every bit as talented. They're younger, though, so we'll see how it goes.”
MCGEHEE, HABIB LEAD CRUSADERS' OFFENSE
Christian Heritage returns senior running backs Caleb McGehee and Andy Habib from last year's 7-4 team.
Habib rushed for 769 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, and McGehee rushed for 486 and seven.
Defensively for CHA, junior linebacker Aaron Condreay is back after 52 tackles and 3.5 sacks last season. McGehee was also a defensive leader with 45 tackles and two interceptions.