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.
JUNIORS ANCHOR TECUMSEH BACKFIELD
Tecumseh coach Greg George will be counting heavily on a pair of juniors as the primary players in his offensive backfield this season.
Colton Owen is a solid throwing quarterback, offset by a small but powerful running back in Julian Tramble.
At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Tramble has good quickness and can catch the ball out of the backfield as well. He also is valuable to the Savages in the defensive backfield.
Tecumseh's physical defensive line is led by another junior, Nick Napoleon.
BETHEL HOPING TO BUILD OFF STRONG FINISH
Last season didn't end the way Bethel hoped — with a trip to the playoffs — but the Wildcats still had a strong finish in Eddie Paul's first season.
Bethel finished 4-6 with wins in three of its final four games, making a late run at a postseason bid.
Justin Vermillion, a 6-foot, 225-pound senior, will be valuable to the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. He anchors the defense at linebacker and will also get some work in the offensive backfield.
Sophomore Dillion Dutton was dangerous as a kick returner last year and could make an impact for the Wildcats this season as well.
LITTLE AXE PLAYERS DETERMINED
After going out in the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, Little Axe is determined to break through this season and give the Indians their first postseason win.
“We've been close,” senior running back/receiver Cory Matlock said. “I think we can do that this year.”
Little Axe has gone through multiple coaching changes and a tornado that tore through the team's football field during Matlock's time there.
“We've had a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “But all that's done is make us stronger. It's rough to have to go through things like that, but I think it's definitely given us another level of determination.”
HELMS BACK FOR DESTINY
After a season away from the school, quarterback Daniel Helms is back at Destiny Christian.
Helms played for the Wildcats as a sophomore before moving to a public school last season and not playing football.
Destiny coach Rusty Stone said he wondered how Helms would react after a year away from the sport.
“He's done great,” Stone said. “I can't believe how much faster he is than he was his sophomore year.
“That's not something we anticipated from him after watching him as a freshman. We thought he was going to be a pocket passer, but he's probably the second-fastest player we've got right now. That adds a dimension to our offense that we haven't had.”
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.”