When Hugo coach Terry Shamley resigned two weeks ago, the Buffaloes quickly found a suitor in Dana Bloedel.
Bloedel was named the coach less than 48 hours later, taking over a senior-laden team that went 4-6 last season and many expect to push for a playoff spot.
“What I have seen is a senior class that is strong, has a good mix of linemen and skill positions, so we look to be strong,” he said. “If we can be disciplined and do the right things and take care of the football, we'll have a chance every week. That's all you can ask for.”
Hugo returns four offensive linemen and solid skill players, including athlete Trey Johnson. In March, Johnson made the infamous shot in the wrong basket at the state basketball tournament to send Millwood to victory that gained national attention.
Shamley, who was entering his second season at Hugo, resigned to take care of his elderly mother.
Bloedel spent the past nine seasons at McKinney North in McKinney, Texas, as the defensive line and outside linebackers coach. He's also coached at Aubrey, Sanger and Wichita Falls Hirschi.
Now, he gets to repair a team that was left scrambling.
“What I've tried to do is instill in them that this is their team, especially the seniors, and we're going to work through this together to be the best possible team we can be,” Bloedel said.
VIAN TURNING TO SIMON AT QB
After putting up prolific offensive numbers last season as a unit, Vian is turning to junior Rylee Simon at quarterback this season.
Simon spent last season at wide receiver while senior Landon Decker guided the Wolverines, passing for 836 yards and 17 touchdowns. Simon, though, saw limited time at quarterback, even starting in Week 10.
“He's very capable of taking over,” Vian coach Brandon Tyler said. “He's done a great job of working on his footwork and throwing the football this year. I think that's going to bring another element to our offense that we didn't have a whole lot of the past couple years.”
The Wolverines also return three of their five offensive linemen, but will be without senior Jon Andrews. He elected to forgo his senior year on the football field to focus on baseball.
PANAMA BUILDING EXPERIENCE
When Panama coach Brandon Ellis took over in 2011, he started six freshmen that first season.
Those freshmen are now juniors and part of the experience the Razorbacks return this fall with 10 returners on each side of the ball from last season, which ended in the first round of the playoffs.
Ellis, though, is going even younger at quarterback with sophomore Andy Burris, who started last season as a freshman at cornerback.
“He gives us that little bit of extra edge,” Ellis said. “He's a decent passer, but he's just so athletic, he's smart football wise and he's got that run-threat capability.”
District 2A-6 coaches' poll
1. Vian (13-1)
2. Hartshorne (7-4)
3. Hugo (4-6)
4. Panama (4-7)
5. Pocola (5-6)
6. Wilburton (4-6)
7. Antlers (0-10)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses