Last November, Douglass was on the doorstep of the Class 4A championship game.
And though the Trojans lost some talented seniors from their semifinal squad, they’ve got plenty of talent back to make them a force with the move down to 3A.
Dominique Jones and Larry Joubert anchor an offensive line that will try to protect third-year starting quarterback Patrick McKaufman. The 6-foot-5 QB made great strides as a sophomore last season, throwing for more than 2,100 yards.
Wyoming commitment Dameko Doddles became McKaufman’s favorite target down the stretch last season, and he returns as well. Doddles also anchors a veteran defensive backfield along with Quasean Sims and Brian Williams.
The Trojans move into a challenging district that includes Blanchard, which has made two straight title game appearances, but the coaches still view Douglass as the favorite.
STRINGER’S VOID HARD TO FILL FOR BLANCHARD
Braden Stringer played an immeasurable role in Blanchard’s 2012 state championship and last season’s runner-up finish. Filling that hole at running back won’t be a one-man job, and the biggest key to keeping the offense on track will start with the front five.
Coach Jeff Craig sees promise in his offensive line that is anchored by seniors Carson Smith, 6-foot-3, 305 pounds, and George Madden, 6-2, 255. Sophomore C.J. Owen, 6-2, 260, also returns to help out up front.
Craig will look at a few different players to step in at running back, including senior Brandon Montano, who was a vital piece of the Lion defense at free safety last year.
BETHANY’S DUKE, RECEIVERS LEAD CHARGE
Bethany coach Reagan Roof has a deep, talented group of skill position players to rely on as his young linemen grow into their roles this season.
It all begins with third-year starting quarterback Kyle Duke and an experienced group of receivers, including Cody Seeds and Gibson Miller.
Sam Jones, a 6-foot-3, 300-pound senior, will anchor the offensive line that has some holes to fill.
JOHN MARSHALL HOPING TO TAKE NEXT STEP
In Rashaun Woods’ first season as John Marshall’s head coach, the Bears came up one win short of the playoffs.
In hopes of making the jump back into the postseason, the Bears will rely on several key returning players, including seniors Kaelon Love and Kaleel Bowden.
Meeker went 12-1 and made the Class 2A quarterfinals last season, and could be in the mix for a playoff berth with the move up to 3A. The Bulldogs will be relying on Tim Whitfield to carry a heavy load at running back under first-year coach Lonny Nolen. … Mount St. Mary coach Chris Stiles calls third-year starter Matt Peace the best decision-making quarterback he’s had in his 16 years as a head coach. … Bridge Creek is still working to overcome last week’s vandalism at their school that damaged or ruined a large amount of their equipment.
DISTRICT 3A-2 COACHES’ POLL
1. Douglass (11-2)
2. Blanchard (13-1)
3. Bethany (7-4)
4. John Marshall (4-6)
5. Meeker (12-1)
6. Mount St. Mary (4-6)
7. Bridge Creek (0-10)
*-Last year’s records in parentheses