With spring sports championships in the rearview mirror, the focus turns to spring football. Here, our high school sports staff takes a look at some of the more intriguing story lines of spring practice.
NEW FACES TAKE OVER
Two coaches with shared history and recent success take another step in their new roles this week with the start of spring practices.
Shannon Watford and Darrell Hall coached together when Watford was the head coach at Star Spencer.
Watford won state titles the last two years at Hennessey. Hall won the 2009 Class 4A title at Star Spencer and the 2010 title at Tulsa Washington.
Now, they're both starting over.
Watford left Hennessey to go to Purcell, where the Dragons went 9-1 last season before being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs.
Hall left the Hornets to come to Midwest City, where Steve Huff had coached the Bombers to four undefeated seasons in six years.
Other coaches starting new eras in their programs include Jeff Brickman (Southmoore), Marvin Dantzler (Tulsa Washington), Scott Myers (Chandler) and Todd Watters (Moore).
By Ryan Aber
GUTHRIE REPLACING KEY PLAYERS
Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins said he doesn't worry too much about spring football.
“I just don't get really excited about it,” he said. “You do so much in the summer anymore with camps and passing leagues. I know there's a lot of schools that go the full 10 days, but we'll go five with shoulder pads and helmets.”
The defending Class 5A champion Bluejays return many of their top players from last season, but they still have some big shoes to fill.
Top linebackers Landry Chappell and John Clark are gone, as are four offensive linemen and running back/safety Luke Davis, the district's Most Valuable Player who rushed for 1,530 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior.
Beau Davis, Andrew Toney and Blaze Hastings will compete for starting linebacker spots, Watkins said. As for replacing Davis, junior-to-be Kai Callins will likely be the Bluejays' primary ball carrier.
In Guthrie's state championship game win over Lawton MacArthur, Callins rushed for two 40-plus yard touchdowns and returned an interception 56 yards for a score.
“The biggest thing for Kai will be getting in good enough shape to be on the field as much as he'll need to be,” Watkins said. “They'll be games when we need him to carry the ball 18-25 times.”
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