Sallisaw coach Craig Benson said he lost 10 defensive starters from last year's nine-win team. Sallisaw returns six offensive veterans from last year's squad.
“We do have some young ones who are ready to step in those roles,” Benson said. “We've got lettermen who've got varsity game experience. They just don't have those big-time games under their belts.”
Sallisaw was 7-0 in district play last season. The Black Diamonds reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 state playoffs before losing 28-14 to eventual semifinalist Bishop McGuinness.
CASCIA HALL MOVES UP
Cascia Hall reached the Class 3A title game last season before losing to eventual state champion Anadarko.
The Commandos will move up to Class 4A this season and hope to contend for the 4A-4 district title. Coach Joe Medina likes his 2012 team.
“It's a very exciting football team, lots and lots of talent,” Medina said. “Probably the biggest football team I've had here in my 14 years in terms of size, so we're really excited.”
BROKEN BOW BOASTS LOTS OF UPPERCLASSMEN
Broken Bow will begin its season with plenty of veteran leaders. Coach Scott Pratt said he'll have 24 seniors and 15 juniors on the sideline this season.
“We've got a great group of young men and a great staff,” Pratt said. “We expect big things from everyone here. It's just what we're about.”
Broken Bow reached the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs last season and was ousted by eventual semifinalist Catoosa.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
District 4A-4 coaches' poll
1. Cascia Hall (14-1)
2. Sallisaw (9-3)
3. Broken Bow (5-6)
4. Muldrow (3-7)
5. Poteau (4-6)
6. Stillwell (2-8)
7. Tulsa Rogers (NR)
Note: Last year's record in parentheses. Tulsa Rogers did not play football last year.