District 2A-8 football preview: Kansas is preseason favorite

Kansas is the preseason favorite to win District 2A-8 after making the playoffs for the first time in six years last season.
by Ed Godfrey Published: August 2, 2012
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It's been a long time since Kansas fans have been this excited for the football season to begin.

Kansas is the preseason favorite to win District 2A-8 after making the playoffs for the first time in six years last season.

“We definitely ended a long dry spell,” said fifth-year coach Eddie Barnwell.

The Comets have the majority of their club returning after finishing 7-4 and losing in the opening round to Lincoln Christian.

“This is the first time since I've been here that expectations are this high because of the season we had last year,” Barnwell said. “We think we got a chance to be pretty good.”

Among the returning starters are sophomore quarterback Logan Blaine, who had to take over last season when starter Austin Hunt's football career was ended with a back injury.

“He had to grow up in a hurry and he did,” Barnwell said. “The rest of our team has so much confidence in him.”

Blaine will be passing the ball to 6-1 senior wide receiver Johnny Lewis, a player Barnwell calls one of the best athletes in the district.

The Comets' leading tackler last season, linebacker Casey Armbrister, is back to spearhead the defense. Armbrister also will see some time at running back this season.

“He is just an awfully good football player,” Barnwell said.

For the first time since Barnwell has been the head coach, the Comets appear as good as anyone in the district heading into the season.

“We are just really high on our kids right now,” he said. “We kind of snuck up on some people last year but I don't think we will again.”

COMMERCE IN THE HUNT AGAIN

Commerce football fans always expect to see their team in the district title chase, and this year is no exception.

The Tigers finished 8-4 last season before losing in the second round of the playoffs to Vian. Commerce finished second in the district to Adair, which was reassigned to a new district this season.

Second-year coach Steve Moss has seven starters returning on offense and eight on defense, and the Tigers should be even better this season.

D.C. Chance, last year's leading rusher, returns at fullback along with senior running back Parker Morgan. Both rushed for more than 900 yards last season.

Defensive tackle Jowa Zamarippa anchors the defensive line at 5-11, 270 pounds. Just a sophomore, Zamarippa bench presses 375 pounds, squats around 450 pounds and dead lifts 550 pounds, Moss said.

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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District 2A-8 Coaches' Poll

1. Kansas (7-4)

2. Commerce (8-4)

3. Colcord (7-3)

4. Wyandotte (9-3)

5. Salina (2-8)

6. Quapaw (2-8)

7. Hulbert (4-6)

8. Ketchum (1-9)

Note: Last season's record in parentheses.

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