“He is quick and very strong,” Moss said. “I am glad he lives at Commerce.”
Moss was the offensive coordinator at Commerce for 10 years before getting the head job. He knows what the expectations are as the Tigers have won seven district titles while he has been on the coaching staff.
The hurdle for Commerce is getting past the third round of the playoffs. The Tigers have made the playoffs each of the last 10 years but are 0-7 in third-round games.
This year's team appears to be another Tiger squad that could make a deep playoff run.
COLCORD IS A DARK HORSE
Colcord was the hard-luck team in the district last season, going 7-3 but not making the playoffs.
“We lost the three important ones (Wyandotte, Kansas and Adair) and finished fifth in the district,” head coach Terrill Denny said. “It was very disappointing.”
Denny was the special teams coach at Colcord last season but takes over as head coach after Bud Simmons stepped down.
Colord will be led this season by dual threat senior quarterback Austin Gilbert, who rushed for 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Gilbert also passed for 850 yards and 10 scores.
“We are real excited about the year he is going to have,” Denny said.
Gilbert is one of just five seniors on the team.
“If we have a perceived weakness, it will just be depth and youth,” Denny said. “We expect to play a lot of young guys, a lot of sophomores and a couple of freshmen.”
Still, Denny thinks Cordell can be as good or better than last year.
“I think we have a chance to make a playoff run,” he said. “We are dark horse. Nobody expects a whole lot from us. We kind of like that.”
SALINA GETS HEALTHY
Salina suffered through a 2-8 season last year after going 8-4 and making the playoffs the previous season.
“That was a pretty nasty taste,” coach Kyle Fowler said of last year's struggles. “It was tough for everybody involved.”
Injuries decimated Salina last season, but the Wildcats return seven starters on both offense and defense, including senior running back Brett Kearns and lineman Jake Tolbert.
Kearns was lost for six games last season with a knee injury.
With a strong senior class healthy again, Fowler thinks this year's club could return Salina to the playoffs. But the Wildcats can't avoid another year of injuries.
“We are pretty thin depth-wise,” Fowler said.