The Golden Tigers might be black and gold in their uniforms, but the left side of their offensive line will be Blue.
Jordan and Caleb Blue are Talihina's senior left guard and left tackle, respectively. Jordan, 6-foot and 250 pounds, is a four-year starter. Caleb, 6-foot and 255 pounds, is a three-year starter. The key to this season, said Golden Tigers coach Kelly Gravitt, will be to stay healthy.
Talihina returns nine starters on both sides of the ball.
CENTRAL SALLISAW'S LEADER, LINE AND ... KICKER?
Central Sallisaw will return eight starters on both sides of the ball, including a veteran offensive line.
Right tackle Connor James, left tackle Winterhawk Gremmitt and center Bryton Hayden are seniors and three-year starters. They will be who Tigers coach Jeremy Thompson said he looks to lead the team, along with four-year starting quarterback Aaron Bush. He threw for more than 1,100 yards last season.
But that's not it. The Tigers also have a strong punter/kicker. Blake Pierce averaged 41 yards per punt last season. He was also named a four-star kicker by the Kohl's Kicking Camp.
SAVANNA'S STRENGTH IN BACKFIELD
Savanna coach James Bond knows his team's strengths. It lies in the Bulldog's backfield.
The key, Bond said, will be four running backs Christian Preston, Hunter Needham, Chase Woods and Ryan Weeks.
“All four of those guys are physical runners,” Bond said.
The Bulldogs have three returning starters on their offensive line and seven total starters on offense.
CANADIAN'S FANTASTIC FOUR
Canadian's superhero team will come in the shape of two seniors and two juniors. Those four are the Cougars' only returning starters.
Those four are 5-10, 150-pound senior outside linebacker and wide receiver David Gaylor; 6-foot, 165-pound senior quarterback and outside linebacker Caleb Jarrett; 5-9, 160-pound junior middle linebacker and right guard Jacob Motley; and 6-foot, 190-pound junior defensive end and right tackle Nick Christian.
“I've got some part-time starters,” Canadian coach Mike Turney said.
But besides the fantastic four, the Cougars will be comprised of mainly freshman and sophomores.
“There are some who have never played,” Turney said. “We've got a lot of work to do.”
GORE'S MOTOR IN LEHNICK
Gore coach Craig Bivins is in his first year as a head coach. A former defensive coordinator for Kellyville for two years and an offensive and defensive line coach for five years at Berryhill, Bivins knows what it takes to get a team going.
He sees his team's motor in transfer running back CJ Lehnick and junior quarterback Wade Shanks.
Lehnick, a 5-9, 170-pound junior, is a transfer from Webbers Falls.
“In our scrimmage the other night, CJ ran for around 115-120 yards,” Bivins said. “He runs real hard.”
Lehnick will also play outside linebacker. As for Shanks, he is a 5-7, 160-pound quarterback.
“He was a backup quarterback last year,” Bivins said. “He's an all-around good athlete and leader. Wade kind of makes the whole thing go for us.”
Quinton will play this season under coach Jeremy Reeder. He previously coached at Coalgate. During his last two seasons, Reeder's Wildcats went 14-7. Quinton finished with a 2-7 record last season.
Haileyville will look to improve on last year's 0-9 season under the direction of new coach Dennis Ford.
District A-6 coaches' poll
1. Savanna (8-2)
2. Talihina (11-2)
3. Central Sallisaw (4-7)
4. Gore (6-5)
5. Quinton (2-7)
6. Canadian (4-5)
7. Haileyville (0-9)
NOTE: All records are from previous season