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.”
BRIDGE CREEK RETURNS NO OFFENSIVE STARTERS
Bridge Creek went 8-3 last season, but coach Jerry Wallis has quite the task on his hands entering 2011.
He has to replace all 11 offensive starters, including quarterback Ryan Spangler and wide receiver Caden Locke.
Seniors Dalton Terrel and Chris Perraut are competing to replace Spangler.
Wallis said the Bobcats need senior Judge Leiter, who is a three-year starter at linebacker, to have a big year on offense at running back.
Wallis lists Leiter, senior linebacker/tight end Michael Lee, senior linebacker/running back Chris Golden, and linemen Jake Sarver and JP Vansyckle as key players for his team in 2011.
SCOTT EXCITED FOR SECOND SEASON
Second-year Lexington coach Waymon Scott said his team is much better prepared this season than it was in his first year there.
“The kids know what to expect and know what I expect now,” Scott said. “We're able to do more than we could at this time a year ago.”
And while Lexington's numbers aren't what Scott would like them to be, he's happy with the ones who are out.
“The attitude is a whole lot better this year,” he said. “Sometimes graduation is good for you. We graduated some really good athletes but we also graduates some attitudes.
“That's certainly not all of the seniors from last year, but this group is coming along better.”
MINCO RETURNS EXPERIENCE
Minco will return 19 starters off its team that went 7-4 last season, including senior quarterback and safety Cade Baade.
Baade threw 18 touchdowns last year and intercepted six passes on defense.
Also back is senior running back and linebacker Jacob Smart, who had 500 rushing and 400 receiving yards in 2010. He also made 150 tackles on defense.
Other senior leaders for the Bulldogs include lineman Carrie Farmer, who also kicks, and receiver/corner Steven Whalen, who had 400 yards receiving last year.
CONRAD TAKES OVER AT DIBBLE
Keeping some continuity on the staff, former Dibble coach Charley North handed the reins of the program to one of the assistants he brought in when he got the job in 2009
Now, former Oklahoma Sooner lineman J.R. Conrad has taken over as Dibble's head coach. Conrad played at OU under Gary Gibbs and Howard Schnellenberger in the 1990s.
Since his playing days at OU, Conrad's coaching career has included stops at places like Tuttle High and the Oklahoma City Yard Dawgz arena team.
He takes over a program that North was working to rebuild. Dibble won just one game in the 2007-08 seasons combined, but won seven over the last two years.
MACOMB LOOKING TO BUILD ON SMALL SUCCESSES
Macomb is entering its fourth year as a football school, and picked up its first two wins in school history last year.
This year, the team returns just one starter — senior fullback and linebacker Garrick Bone — but the expectations are at an all-time high.
“Our goal this year is to go .500 and make the playoffs,” second-year coach Tommy Price said. “We think that is a reachable goal.”
Bone said: “The number one goal is to have some heart in the work we do. That's been our major problem is people giving up. We have a whole lot of talent, if we can get the heart and motivation there, we can do really well.”
The Hornets had two move-ins, including junior quarterback Tony Mercer (6-foot-2, 180 pounds).
ROYALS HAVE EXPERIENCED LINES
Community Christian returns 10 starters from last year's 12-0 championship team, and coach Paul Potter cites offensive and defensive line experience as a team strength heading into 2011.
Seniors Heath Thomas and Adam Baker and junior Alex Borgerdine are leaders on the lines.
Another leader returning for the Royals is senior linebacker and receiver Mark Murdaugh, who had 108 tackles a season ago.
Senior fullback and defensive end Jacob Blough is also back after 68 tackles and eight sacks in 2010.