“We have a core of 16 to 18 kids returning, and of those, 14 of them were either yearlong starters or they got significant starting time at the end of the year,” Smith said. “They've really been progressing in the weight room. They understand the terminology of our schemes, but more importantly, they understand the responsibilities of their position.”
The Knights only have five seniors, but they have provided the team with strong leadership on an otherwise young team.
“We're pleased with what we're seeing and where we're going,” Smith said. “We're getting there.”
DEER CREEK EXPECTING IMPROVEMENT FROM JACKSON
With Jared Rayburn moving over to the slot position that Hunter Dinkines held last year for Deer Creek, the Antlers have been looking for a No. 2 receiver to take the top spot out wide.
It looks like that will be senior Kale Jackson.
Last season, Jackson had 11 catches for 76 yards, but he is one of the fastest players on the team, finishing near the top in both hurdles events in last year's state track meet.
IRISH MAKE THE MOVE TO 5A
After becoming one of the top programs in Class 4A over the past several years, Bishop McGuinness makes the leap to 5A this year.
While second-year Irish coach Justin Jones understands the challenges his team faces moving up, he's also looking forward to it.
“I'm never going to shy away from who we play,” Jones said. “We knew it was coming, and we understand that our district is one of the toughest in the state. We're not going to shy away from them, but we're certainly going to respect them.”
MORE FROM NEWSOK
District 5A-2 coaches' poll
1. Guthrie (14-0)
2. Carl Albert (9-2)
3. Deer Creek (7-4)
4. Bishop McGuinness (10-3)
5. El Reno (3-7)
6. Western Heights (1-9)
7. Northwest (3-7)
8. Guymon (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses