Stroud lost much of its offense with the graduation of running backs Dakota Biswell and Levi Killman. Biswell rushed for more than 5,000 yards and 92 touchdowns in his career while Killman compiled more than 3,000 yards and more than 40 scores.
“They were really good for a long time back there,” Elerick said. “We lost some star power.”
The Tigers, however, still plan to punish opponents with the running game.
“We are going to do what we do,” Elerick said. “We have got kids that have worked hard and ready to step into those roles and now is their time. It will probably have a different look and a different feel, but it's still gong to be the same ole' Stroud football.”
MEEKER MUST GROW UP IN A HURRY
Meeker will be young this season with no starters returning on offense and just three on defense: linebacker Jacob Wood and safeties Leven Hendley and Nick Cagle.
There will be a lot of starting positions up for grabs when two-a-day practices begin, Meeker head coach Mike Hedge said.
Meeker does have some depth, however, which is important in District 2A-5.
“It's a physical district,” Hedge said. “Nobody passes. Everybody grounds and pounds and plays good defense. It's kind of like an endurance test.”
The key for Meeker will be the development of a young offensive line.
“They better play older than they are,” Hedge said. “If we stay healthy and we grow up, we will be all right.”
HASKELL WANTS NO MORE 2-8 SEASONS
Haskell's opponents can throw away any game film on the Haymakers from last season.
Coach Greg Wilson is scrapping the wishbone and going to a shotgun formation.
“It's going to be a totally opposite look,” Wilson said. “We will get under center some but we will be in shotgun most of the time.”
Even in the shotgun, the Haymakers still plan to run the football most of the time, Wilson said.
“We are going to line up in a bunch of sets and see if (opposing defenses) can line up the right way,” he said. “We will have option calls at the line of scrimmage.”
The Haymakers have been just 2-8 the past four seasons. Haskell only has four seniors on this year's squad.
Wilson believes it is important for his young club to have success early to build confidence, something that might be difficult with Colcord, Morris and Spiro as the Haymakers' first three opponents.
“We got to win early so we will believe in what we are doing,” he said. “I feel like we have the athletes. We are going to better than 2-8, I will tell you that.”
District 2A-5 Coaches' Poll
1. Okemah (8-4)
2. Stroud (12-1)
3. Meeker (5-6)
4. Holdenville (2-8)
5. Haskell (2-8)
6. Mounds (2-8)
7. Wellston (0-10)
Note: Last season's record in parentheses.