Familiar foes in new district
Technically, all seven teams in District 3A-3 are new to the district. But they're not new to each other as several of the teams were in the same district last year or in previous years.
"It's a move up in class, but we've been playing these teams for a long time," Heritage Hall coach Andy Bogert said.
Despite a couple of proven Class 3A teams in Bethany and Newcastle, the coaches have pegged Kingfisher, a team moving up from 2A, as the favorite heading into the season.
The Yellowjackets reached the 2A championship game last year, losing to Lincoln Christian.
Bronchos loaded with talent
When talking about the top running backs in the district, Heritage Hall's Barry Sanders immediately comes to mind.
But one name that can't be forgotten is Bethany's Devin Campbell. The senior did a little bit of everything for the Bronchos last season.
He ran for more than 700 yards with eight touchdowns. He caught another 21 balls for four more scores and added four touchdowns.
Bethany also has one of the best defensive linemen in the class in Darren Davenport. He had 82 tackles and 14 sacks last year.
Yellowjackets want to finish the job
Under coach Jeff Myers, Kingfisher program has become one of the perennial contenders for the gold ball.
The Yellowjackets were up late in the 2007 3A championship game against Clinton before the Red Tornadoes pulled it out.
Last year, Kingfisher made a surprising run to the 2A championship contest, upsetting Millwood in the process.
Now back in 3A, Myers' club is ready to finish what it's started.
"We're pumped about moving up and the competition that we're going to be facing," senior quarterback Derek Patterson said. "We like what we have this year."
Newcastle will be led by senior cornerback Jeremy McDade. A three-year starter, McDade has nine career interceptions. ... Defensive tackle Dejon Brison will lead the way for John Marshall. The Bears are returning six starters on defense, but the five that graduated were the team's top five tacklers in 2009.
District 3A-3 coaches' poll 1. Kingfisher (12-3)* 2. Heritage Hall (8-5)* 3. Bethany (7-4)* 4. Newcastle (4-6)* 5. John Marshall (9-3)* 6. Centennial (4-6)* 7. SeeWorth Academy (1-9)* * Denotes new to district 2009 record in parentheses