Valliant has made the playoffs in the previous three seasons with Brett Jones as head coach. And with the talent coming back this season, chances are good to make it another year in the postseason. The key, Jones said, has been how tough and hard-nosed the kids have been. "They give everything they have. We’re never lacking for effort,” Jones said. Leading the way will be junior quarterback Dylan Parker. He started as a sophomore and only feels more comfortable with a year’s worth of experience. Jones said Parker is the team’s best athlete.
Spiro looking to bounce backAfter an uncharacteristic 3-7 season under Chris Bunch, Spiro returns 12 starters from last year’s team as Bunch enters his 21st season as head coach. One of those starters on defense is Harold Solomon, who led the team with 85 tackles and 10 sacks. "We have a lot of speed defensively, and that’s something we’ll be looking to take advantage of,” Bunch said.
Wilburton finds silver liningInjuries plagued Wilburton in coach Johnny Skimbo’s first season. But what hampered the team last year is giving it depth and experience this season. The Diggers return 15 starters this season and also added wide receiver Ethan Nance, a transfer from Texas. Sophomore Clay McAlester, 6-1 and 215 pounds, is one of those players that had to grow up fast. He started six games as a freshman and accumulated 56 tackles and five sacks. He will also play fullback.
Coaching carouselThere are three new coaches in the district. Chris Risenhoover is at Stigler after previously coaching Miami. Mike Zulkey is replacing Scott Schier at Antlers and Wayne Morton is taking over for Mike Davidson at Panama.
Extra pointsHartshorne, led by senior quarterback Ross Rose, was picked as the team to beat in the district. … Heavener will be paced by senior Dustin Smittle, who will play both quarterback and free safety for the Wolves.