Chandler getting respect as favorite
Chandler coach Neal Bacon has only four offensive starters and five defensive starters returning from last year's 7-5 team, but the Lions are still being picked by the District 3A-4 coaches as the favorite.
For that prediction to come true, it will mean Bacon and his staff did a good job developing their skilled players. Aside from a couple of running backs who contributed around 400 yards apiece, the Lions have an almost entirely new backfield and receiving corps.
But Bacon has been pleased with the growth of his offensive line, led by center Tony Soto and tackle Tyler Gray, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound senior.
And the defensive line looks to be one of the team's strongest areas, led by end Barry Parks.
"He has a great work ethic on the field and in the classroom," Bacon said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior who also aids the offense as a goal-line option at tight end.
Last season, Parks caught 12 passes for 212 yards and five touchdowns.
Little Axe trying to repeat playoff appearance
It's been a wild 10 months in Little Axe, with the Indians earning their first home playoff berth in school history last fall, then seeing a tornado rip through their stadium in May.
But the Indians are ready to get back to the postseason behind 17 returning starters.
Coach Tony Smith must develop a quarterback, but there are plenty of skilled players on offense, led by running back Robby Dryden. In his fourth year as a starter, the 5-foot-8, 175-pound senior has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career and is drawing recruiting interest from Baylor and Texas Tech.
Allen leads Demon defense
In a district like 3A-4, a strong defense will be valuable, and Perkins-Tryon coach Lloyd Wertman has a good group of linebackers to build his defense around.
Seniors Kenneth Allen and Hayden White, along with junior Justin Adkison, are three-year starters at linebacker.
Allen led the way with 137 tackles and two interceptions last season. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder's recruiting interest ranges from Oklahoma, Tulsa and Arkansas to Central Oklahoma and South Dakota State.
Bethel is in its first year under new coach Eddie Paul, a 35-year veteran with head coaching stops in Lindsay, Woodward, Velma-Alma and Plainview. ... A big offensive line will be opening holes for Bristow running back Leonard Fullbright, whose ability to make people miss could put him among the top runners in the class.
District 3A-4 coaches' poll 1. Chandler (7-5) 2. Star Spencer (12-2) 3. Bristow (6-4) 4. Prague (6-5) 5. Perkins-Tryon (5-5) 6. Little Axe (8-3) 7. Bethel (2-8) 2009 records in parentheses