Beggs had 16 seniors graduate from last year's 10-2 team, but the Demons are the preseason pick to win the Distirct 3A-6 title again.
Returning to the Demons is tailback Chris Baccus, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards last year and will be relied on even more this season.
“The secret is getting him the ball a lot,” Beggs coach Bob Craig said. “We just don't have to hand it to him either. We can throw it to him and he can throw. We will exploit all of his abilities a lot more than we've had to in the past.”
Baccus also will be an important cog in the Demons' defense, where he will see more playing time at linebacker.
Beggs has won the last two district championships but will have to rely on youth for a third consecutive crown. Craig admits the Demons lost a bunch of talent at the skill positions from last season.
“We had a lot of players that were experienced and could do things with the ball. That made us very hard to defend,” he said. “We've still got good football players. A lot of those people had to pay their dues and mark their time. Now is their time to shine and we expect them to.”
HENRYETTA WILL BE EXPERIENCED
Henryetta was just 1-9 last season but should be much improved with 19 starters returning. The Knights only had two senior starters on offense last year and just one on defense.
“We don't have to fill many holes,” coach Kenny Speer said.
Senior running back Blake Johnson has rushed for more than 1,000 yards the past two seasons. The Knights' offensive line was bolstered by the transfer of 6-3, 240-pounder Tyler George from Wetumka.
“He brings size to our line and he is a real good player,” Speer said.
The Knights went 7-4 in 2010 and made the playoffs, but 13 seniors graduated from that team, leaving last year's club very inexperienced.
Entering his 14th season as the Henryetta football coach, Speer had never started freshman until last season.