Lawton MacArthur was a near-unanimous choice to win District 5A-1 after making a run to the title game a year ago.
The Highlanders' biggest returner is running back Darius Graham, who ran for 1,492 yards and 18 touchdowns a season ago.
Graham was held out of MacArthur's two scrimmages after suffering a shoulder injury.
“We hope to get him back next week,” Highlanders coach Brett Manning said. “The main goal, though, is to get him back for district play. We don't want to rush him back and then it turn into a season-long deal.”
Protection for Graham is the question as most of the line that blocked for Graham a year ago was lost to graduation.
MacArthur will start three sophomores on the offensive line.
“They're starting because they're the best we have,” Manning said. “I think they're going to be really, really good eventually, maybe even this year. They've just got to get experience and game reps to get there.”
DEL CITY MORE THAN JUST LAWRENCE
Del City coach Nick Warehime knows who his top playmaker is. Receiver Corey Lawrence is a big play waiting to happen, either on a deep route or a short throw where he can get in space.
But Warehime doesn't want his offense to become accustomed to simply waiting for Lawrence's next big play to bail them out.
“You don't want it where Corey has to make a play,” Warehime said. “Sometimes you've got to line up between the tackles and go to work, be physical and knock people back. We were good at that last year.”
PEREZ GIVES ALTUS A WEAPON
While much of the focus on Altus offensively centers around running back Diquon Woodhouse, the Bulldogs also feature one of the state's top kickers in Michael Perez.
Altus coach Chad Stone said Perez is “automatic from the 45 and in.”
Stone also said Perez, who averages more than 40 yards per punt as well, has added distance to his kickoffs as well, almost ensuring a touchback.
Altus has nine offensive starters back from last season, including Woodhouse, who missed most of last year with an ACL tear.
Capitol Hill is turning to a new quarterback, Eddie Aguirre, who coach Jason Webster believes can be a dual-threat option. “He played wide receiver last year, but he has really been able to make some good reads and run with the ball well. He had a good summer in 7-on-7,” Webster said. ... Get ready for a double dose of Steven Smith from Southeast. The Spartans' offensive line is anchored by Steven Smith, who will be opening holes for — you guessed it — running back Steven Smith.
District 5A-1 coaches' poll
1. Lawton MacArthur (13-1)
2. Duncan (8-4)
3. Del City (1-9)
4. Ardmore (8-5)
5. Chickasha (5-5)
6. Altus (3-7)
7. Southeast (2-8)
8. Capitol Hill (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses.