The coaches voted Lawton MacArthur as the No. 1 team in the District 5A-1 preseason poll, and coach Brett Manning says that fits his team's mindset.
His players expect to win. They expect to have success.
“It was one of the first things that really caught my attention when I got to MacArthur,” said Manning, who is entering his fifth season as the Highlanders' coach, about his players' expectations.
The consistency of that success also comes from a stable coaching staff. Manning doesn't give credit, though, to any one player or coach. However, Manning expects a large amount of production this season from wide receiver Gary McKnight and linebacker Mitch Fritts, both of whom have received Division-I attention.
“We feel really good about the players we have coming back and think we can have a good year,” Manning said.
Mason ready to lead Del City
Del City running back Anthony Mason might be the shortest player in the huddle, but the 5-foot-6, 175-pound senior will be the biggest reason the Eagles will be in the 5A-1 race.
Entering his fourth year of varsity action, Mason surpassed Mike Woods as Del City's all-time leading rusher last season, and with a three-player quarterback competition going on, he'll be the focal point of the offense again.
"He's a small package, but he's a hard-nosed player, a team player," coach Nick Warehime said. "This is his bunch. He's running this deal. He wants to be successful.
"We lost a lot of good players, but what those kids have done from December to now has been really good. They've matured and they know how close we are."
Three players are competing for the job to replace graduated quarterback Jon McBride, but Warehime isn't too concerned.
"I think we're in good shape there — better shape than people might think," he said.
SON OF FORMER OKLAHOMA DB TO SHINE FOR ARDMORE
Senior Carter Swanson is a three-year starter for the Ardmore Tigers and while he seems to have an interest in his father's alma mater, he hasn't received an offer from the Sooners.
Lance Swanson played defensive back for Oklahoma from 1988 to 1990. But 2013 is his son's year. A wide receiver and safety, Swanson is a quiet player who leads by example, according to his coach Doug Wendel.
“He's an exceptionally hard working student athlete,” Wendel said. “He exemplifies what a student-athlete is supposed to be.”
In the offseason, Swanson has gained weight while improving his speed. He runs a 4.57 40-yard dash.
“He is an intelligent athlete from the standpoint of his understanding of the game gives him an edge,” Wendel said.
Swanson has been getting interest from OSU, Tulsa, North Texas, Memphis and Duke.
VANDERSYPEN PREPARES FOR FIRST SPARTAN SEASON
Chris Vandersypen is entering his second year as a head coach, but his first with Southeast High School — and so far, it's been a challenge.
While his team's strength lies in its skill positions, its weakness resides in his team's depth. The team ended last season with 29 players, and 14 of those have graduated.
The Spartans' new coach is looking to offensive guard Marguess Smith to have a standout season as a two-way player on the line.
*Chickasha coach Tom Cobble feels like his team is more experienced this year, especially with senior quarterback Cade Morris and senior defensive tackle Oron Bowman, who showed their “work and commitment” during the offseason.
*After going 0-10 during the 2012 season, Capitol Hill senior tight end Marcus Williams will try to help the team to victory in its last season in Class 5A. The Redskins will spend the next five years rebuilding as an independent.
*Duncan's front seven on its defensive line will be completely new. While Demons' coach Jim Holloway also needs to replace his quarterback, he has “several really good prospects” in junior Mason Hightower and seniors Connor Kelly and Cody Hood.
District 5A-1 coaches' poll
1. MacArthur (8-3)
2. Del City (9-2)
T3. Ardmore (5-6)
T3. Duncan (6-5)
5. Altus (3-7)
6. Chickasha (4-6)
7. Southeast (2-8)
8. Capitol Hill (0-10)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses