High school football: Blanchard has pieces to replace but maintains strong team chemistry

Blanchard is losing quarterback Brock Lamle and receiver Zach Hill to graduation, but the Lions believe their team chemistry and work ethic is strong. And they also return star running back Braden Stringer.
by Trent Shadid Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - Blanchard's Braden Stringer fights off Kingfisher's Keaton Ely during the Class 3A football championship between Blanchard and Kingfisher at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Blanchard won 28-21. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Blanchard's Braden Stringer fights off Kingfisher's Keaton Ely during the Class 3A football championship between Blanchard and Kingfisher at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Blanchard won 28-21. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

— After an impressive run to a Class 3A state championship last fall, Blanchard entered spring football with a lot to replace.

Gone are two key components of its high powered offense — which averaged 41 points per game last season — in quarterback Brock Lamle and his go-to receiver Zach Hill, as both have graduated this spring.

However, the Lions believe they'll return their biggest asset from a 13-1 season that ended with a 28-21 victory over heavily favored Kingfisher in the Class 3A state championship game. That asset is team chemistry.

“We had a really good chemistry amongst our kids last year,” said coach Jeff Craig. “That was the key to our run last season and I think that's kept up now here in the spring with this group that we'll have next year.

“The guys that we are graduating now really set the tone for us on how to work hard. Not just during the season, but also during this time of year in the spring. They've passed that on to our young guys, and they've accepted that mindset.”

Team unity and a championship work ethic weren't the only important things back for Blanchard during spring practices. The Lions also return star running back Braden Stringer.

“He (Stringer) is really the guy for us now,” Craig said. “We had a really experienced and solid quarterback last year, and we'll probably have to take a little pressure off that position by letting the guys who have been there carry more of the load.”

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by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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