One of the players that stood out to Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard immediately after his team's scrimmage last week at the Top of the World Classic in Norman ended was senior running back Chuck Neal.
Neal, a senior, is expected to split time there with Davyn Thompson.
“I liked what Chuck showed,” Barnard said. “We're going to need him to make some plays for us.”
Stillwater doesn't have much returning offensively from last season's 8-3 team, including losing quarterback Jerame Littell, who threw for more than 3,000 yards last season, and wide receivers Corey Hassel and Jesse Vester, who each had more than 1,000 yards receiving.
Atyia back in charge at Tulsa Union
At programs with the talent and depth of Tulsa Union, it's rare to have a third-year starter at quarterback, but senior Hunter Atyia is behind center once again as the Redskins look to keep their state title streak alive.
Atyia was forced into action as a sophomore because of injury, and showed himself as a dangerous running and passing threat as a junior.
This year, he had an experienced group of pass-catchers with Kahlil Barnett, Khalid Kornegay and Chris Hall. The Redskins are breaking in some new linemen around standout Blake Mejia.
Defensive line stout for Hornets
Even though Dominique Alexander is playing defensive end for Tulsa Washington, rather than safety, where the Arkansas commit was recruited, it's not a sign of weakness on the Hornet front.
Joining the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Alexander on the defensive line will be a pair of senior tackles, 6-foot, 270-pound Dallas Thompson and 6-foot-4, 245-pound Aljamal Muse.
On the other end of the line is junior Jordan Brailford, a 6-foot-3, 215-pounder who started as a sophomore. He has already begun to garner attention from multiple Division I programs and could be among the top recruits in the state for the 2014 class.
Owasso defense experienced
A lot will be expected of the Owasso defense, which returns 10 players with starting experience this season. The group is anchored by three returning linebackers, seniors Tanner Dimarco and Ty McKenzie, along with junior Jantzen Burd.
Enid's offense will rely heavily on senior running back Seth Handley. Nicknamed Popeye, Handley rushed for a school-record 376 yards and five touchdowns in a win over Bixby last season... After graduating a talented quarterback in Brent Wilson, Ponca City is breaking in another gifted athlete at the position. Jake Didlake will provide a run-pass threat after shifting over from receiver.
District 6A-1 coaches' poll
1. Tulsa Union (13-1)
2. Owasso (9-4)
3. Tulsa Washington (4-6)
4. Stillwater (8-3)
5. Enid (2-8)
6. Sand Springs (3-7)
7. Bartlesville (3-7)
8. Ponca City (2-8)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses