One of the biggest differences for Christian Heritage through the first few days of practice has been the amount of work they've been able to do early.
“Overall, as a team, we're in the best shape we've been in in several years,” Crusaders coach John Merrell said. “We did a little bit better job with our summer workouts. We didn't focus as much on lifting weights as we had in the past, we really worked on the cardio and that's paying off.”
CHA returns six starters on each side of the ball, including most of a strong front seven on defense.
“We're pretty optimistic about things,” Merrell said. “We've got a murderous schedule, but we're really looking forward to it.”
The Crusaders, in addition to their district games, play a non-district schedule that includes two-time defending champion Hennessey, Lincoln Christian, Stroud and Mount St. Mary's.
DIBBLE PLANNING OKLAHOMA DRILL
After an expected light day Thursday, Dibble coach J.R. Conrad plans to put his players through the “Oklahoma Drill” on Friday as the team practices with pads for the first time.
“To me, I think that's what kind of defines you,” Conrad said. “It's not a test of manhood but just seeing all the guys go through that helps make your team.”
As much as anything, Conrad said, the drill helps bring the team together.
“You want everyone to see your quarterback in there getting hit,” Conrad said. “You want them to know everybody's committed and everyone's making the same sacrifices.
MILLWOOD HAS WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE
Millwood graduated a few important pieces off last year's Class 2A semifinal squad, but the number of juniors, sophomores and freshmen who contributed was immense.
That's why the Falcons are among the top contenders in 2A, with returning players like quarterback London Potts, linebacker Larry Lambeth, and defensive back Dashawn Stephens.
District 2A-2 coaches' poll
1. Millwood (11-3)
2. OCS (9-3)
3. Christian Heritage (5-5)
4. Luther (5-6)
5. Dibble (8-5)
6. Northeast (3-7)
7. Crooked Oak (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses