While their friendship came naturally, it didn't necessarily come quickly.
At first, nobody talked to him because he's so quiet,” Clark said of Ward. “When he first came, the first couple days of practice, he wasn't talking. You could tell he was a quiet person.
“But now he's a part of the family, so everybody's getting used to him.”
Once you start talking about the possibilities for a defense with two defensive ends of their caliber, you see their eyes light up with a gold-ball glimmer.
Ward has been deep into the playoffs in Class 6A at Lawton, getting taken out by the powerhouse programs in the Tulsa area.
“My first three years ended with a bitter taste in my mouth,” Ward said. “Maybe this year I can get over the hump with the guys. We're all gonna have that same motivation going forward.”
Clark tasted a championship as a freshman, but saw last season end with an embarrassing first-round upset.
“I learned how hard it is to get there,” Clark said. “It doesn't come overnight. We started it this summer and I think we'll be able to get back where we were.”
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Slogan: Let Douglass be Douglass Again
It didn't work so well for John Kerry in 2004, with “Let America Be America Again,” but Clark and the Trojans would like to get back to being themselves after a sometimes challenging 2011 season. After a challenging start, the season came to a shocking end with a first-round playoff upset. Now, Douglass is ready to be Douglass again, pursuing the 4A gold ball.
Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins: “I know D.J. Ward is the top player in the state, but Clark isn't far behind him as a player. Clark is a handful. He's as good as anybody we'll face this year. He's close to 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and he runs like a deer.”
Douglass defensive ends coach Alonzo Mayes: “They're both mature young men who are learning the techniques of becoming great defensive ends. The great thing about D.J. being here, Deondre has a role model he can follow to learn the position and learn the particulars of being an elite recruit. They're both taking that leadership role and running with it. They're great leaders, great role models and great morale-builders for the rest of the team.”