SPENCER — Losing 18 seniors — virtually all starters — and a head coach would often be enough to cripple a Class 3A football team for at least a year or two.
But Star Spencer coach Terrell Love is doing everything he can to make sure that doesn't happen as he takes over last year's Class 4A state champs.
Stepping in for his old boss, Darrell Hall (now the head coach at Tulsa Washington), Love opened two-a-days at midnight on Tuesday to produce a little extra excitement as the Bobcats prepare for the move down in class to District 3A-4.
"We got to keep the fire and the passion going," said Love, who was the U.S. Grant head coach last season after a long stint as a Star Spencer assistant. "I know I've got some seniors out here that played a lot in the championship run, so expectations from them are pretty high.
"They're not letting the other guys slack. (The coaches) don't have to do so much motivating, because guys have their teammates there picking them up."
Despite the loss of a large senior class from last year, the Bobcats still have a chance to be one of the better teams in the newly expanded Class 3A. But the players know they still have plenty to prove.
"Guys are pumped every day, but we need a little bit more effort from some of the teammates," senior defensive end Kenneth Turner said. "I know I've got to be a big leader this year, especially with the young guys — show them the right direction."
Turner also helps out on the offensive line, which will have five new starters.
"We've still got some big guys and we're working hard," Turner said. "We're gonna be looking good."
The Bobcats will count heavily on the experience of senior receiver/defensive back Stevo Henderson, who medaled in the 100 meters at the Class 4A state track meet, and sophomore Kenneth Davis, a linebacker and running back who earned playing time as a freshman.
And the offense is in the hands of Darion Bogus, a 5-foot-7 sophomore who has taken over early in camp.
"He's got a nice arm, good feet. He's a good quarterback," said Davis, who played with Bogus in middle school. "I expected him to come out and do what he's supposed to do, lead the team. And he's doing it."
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