Senior running back Braden Stringer was vital during Blanchard's run to the Class 3A state championship last season, and he'll play an even larger role this fall. Stringer, 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, rushed for 1,377 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 9.7 yards per rush while splitting carries. But he'll be the featured back this season.
Q: How excited has the team been in the preseason as you get ready to defend your state title?
A: Everyone seems more intense this year, now that we have a taste of a state championship. Everyone's more excited and ready. I'm just as excited and working even harder than I did last year. We feel like it's gonna be a big year.
Is the intensity from the fact that you know opponents will be gunning for you now, or just because you're state champions and you want to do it again?
It's the fact that we want to defend it, and we know people will play us harder than they did last year. We were the underdogs going into a lot of games last year. This year, we'll have a target on our back and we want to live up to our expectations and be No. 1.
The other half of your running back duo, Stephan Davis, graduated. Will you be asked to pick up even more of the offense now?