Expectations are always high for the Millwood offense, especially with eight returning starters on that side of the ball.
But a big reason why the District 2A-2 coaches voted the Falcons the preseason favorite is because of a defense loaded with seniors.
Offensive stars like Cameron Batson, Alfonzo McMillian and Janari Glover transition to defense to form one of the most dangerous secondary groups in the state.
Larry Lambeth, the Falcons' bruising 235-pound running back, anchors the linebackers, while Quincy Dotson, Emmanuel Cole, Deandre Lewis and Kameron Lyons make for a scary front four.
New coach Darwin Franklin is looking to that group of seniors to lead his team back to the peak of Class 2A — a place the Falcons haven't been since 2006.
CHA FULL OF EXPERIENCE
Two facts are true about Christian Heritage that a lot of coaches around the state wish they could claim right now.
For one, the Crusaders have 10 returning starters on each side of the ball. And secondly, they've got a fourth-year starter at quarterback.
Colton Lindsey is behind center once again for CHA, coming off a junior season in which he threw for more than 1,800 yards and ran for 770 more. And the 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior added seven interceptions from his defensive position at safety.
Coach John Merrell, entering his 31st season as the Crusaders' head coach, has returning starters at every spot on offense, with the exception of one offensive line spot.
LINEBACKERS KEY TO DIBBLE DEFENSE
Tazden Jevons' name has become a familiar one across Class 2A football after the 6-foot, 215-pound Dibble senior rushed for 2,000 yards last year. But he also anchors an impressive group of linebackers that will be vital to the Demons' success this season.
Senior Jacob Neidel had 92 tackles last season, and is joined by Dakota Miegs and Nick Hearon at the linebacker positions.
After moving up from Class A last fall, the Demons are viewed as a legitimate playoff contender.
RUF-NEX LOOKING FOR REPEAT PLAYOFF TRIP
Though they won only four games last year, the Crooked Oak Ruf-Nex won the right four, earning a playoff berth.
Now, with veteran coach Dennis McCray taking over, the Ruf-Nex will try to build on that experience with eight returning starters on each side of the ball.
The offense will lead on DeAntray Hawkins, who led the team in rushing and was second in receiving last year.
* Luther will count on three key seniors to try to lead them into the playoff hunt — linebacker Lance Sumner, receiver/defensive back Blake Browning and running back/linebacker Keyante Fountain.
* Northeast will count heavily on Elijah Bronner, who could factor in at quarterback, running back or wide receiver. And junior lineman Jervis Hollingsworth, 6-foot-1, 260 pounds, is already beginning to catch the eye of colleges.
District 2A-2 coaches' poll
1. Millwood (10-2)
2. Oklahoma Christian (14-1)
3. Christian Heritage (5-6)
4. Dibble (4-6)
5. Crooked Oak (4-7)
6. Luther (2-8)
7. Northeast (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses