Opposing coaches saw the youth on Cashion's roster last season, and that's a big reason why the Wildcats are being viewed as the District A-3 favorites.
Returning quarterback Ty Reasnor leads a core group of 11 seniors, virtually all of whom will start or play valuable roles.
“We have some optimism, because not only do we have a lot back, but we have a lot of upper classmen,” Cashion coach Lynn Shackelford said. “We think Ty could have a good year. He has worked really hard, and he's been throwing the ball a lot this summer.”
The run game will focus on the protection of 6-foot-5, 300-pound senior Dexton Robertson, a four-year starter who has battled injuries.
Last season's success of a 12-1 team at Minco was built around some key seniors, but coach Clint Warren's squad is ready to fill the void, in hopes of continuing the program's strong run. And it will be a group of offensive skill position players who anchor this season's team.
Tyler Mitcham, Jacob Overton and Colby Ruthardt all gained experience at receiver in last year's offense, and they'll be back in key roles once again. Mitcham will move to quarterback, with Overton still in the spot as the team's top wideout.
Overton, a junior, has 82 catches for more than 1,300 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career.
Up front, J.T. Lee will anchor both sides of the line as a three-year starter and senior.
WALKER LEADING CRESCENT
Crescent's Preston Walker accounted for 1,842 yards and 28 touchdowns from the quarterback position last season, and he'll be even more vital to an offense that returns six starters.
A dangerous dual-threat quarterback, Walker will count on receiver Tristan Lacy in the passing game, with Devon Bledsoe and Mikey Cronister helping him at running back.
LINES KEY AT CARNEGIE
New coach Jack Baker, who spent the last six years as an assistant at Millwood and Putnam City, will have strong offensive and defensive lines to work with in his first year at Carnegie.
It starts with Eli Starr, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior, who missed last season due to injury. Kaedin McSperitt is another senior on the front, while Jeremy Beaver, a junior, will play a variety of positions, including running back, tight end and linebacker.
Not only is Watonga dropping down from Class 2A, it will do so with a new coach. Former Mustang assistant David Lorenz takes over the Eagles, who have been a strong program in recent years, despite winning just four games last season.
Crossings Christian is making its first appearance in an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association district, and its first season playing a varsity schedule. The Knights are coached by Chris Roberts, who has previously been an assistant at John Marshall, Edmond Santa Fe and Kingfisher.
District A-3 coaches' poll
1. Cashion (6-6)
2. Minco (12-1)
3. Watonga (4-6)
4. Crescent (6-5)
5. Carnegie (10-4)
6. Pioneer (4-6)
7. Crossings Christian (N/A)
*-Last year's record in parentheses