There's a buzz at Douglass as the 2012 football season approaches.
The team's revived attitude has a positive energy enveloping fall workouts, and the players have gotten past the frustrating end to the 2011 season.
The state's top recruit, Oklahoma defensive end commit D.J. Ward, moved in from Lawton, giving the Trojans the state's best one-two punch coming off the edge, with junior Deondre Clark already at one defensive end spot.
“It's hard not to think about what could happen,” Ward said of the dangerous duo.
Both players will get a chance to play some offense as well, with Ward working at tight end and Clark seeing snaps at fullback.
They'll be opening holes for Chavez Wyatt, who accounted for nearly 900 yards rushing while splitting carries with two other players last year. Chris High is another experienced tailback, though he's extremely valuable to the Trojans at linebacker.
Another important linebacker, Timothy Harle, will get a shot at quarterback, where he was the team's backup last year. He'll count heavily on Jordan Stevenson and Deangelo Woodward as key returning starters on the offensive line.
Anthony Williams is a senior leader on a receiving corps that is young and talented.
Senior Terry Harris will spend time at fullback, though he's a three-year starter in the secondary, where he accounted for 52 tackles, 14 passes defended and two interceptions last year.
“Last year hurts a lot, because we never should have lost that game,” Harris said of Douglass' upset defeat to Woodward on a late fumble return touchdown. “We just want to get back to what we were two years ago, stay focused and get that gold ball. We've just got to get everybody on the right track, so we won't have the same mistakes we had last year.”
There's excitement right off the top as the Trojans and Tulsa Washington renew their rivalry that had been dormant since 2002.
Focusing on that game, followed by other rivalry matchups behind it, the Trojans know they can't dwell on the past.
“We put it behind us when we came out in spring,” coach Willis Alexander said. “We had a different group of kids. They're more focused and more mature.
“Sometimes a setback is a setup for a comeback.”