The Jenks defense returns eight starters from a strong group that helped lead the Trojans to 12 straight wins and the Class 6A state championship.
Led by seniors-to-be Steven Parker and Dylan Harding in the defensive backfield, Jenks held opponents to under 11 points per game during its 12-game winning streak.
Parker is widely considered one of the top safeties in the country. His long list of scholarship offers includes Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas A&M.
Harding, who plays the other safety position alongside Parker, has scholarship offers from 13 Division I programs — including seven BCS conference schools, according to Rivals.com. Harding had two interceptions in last seasons 55-20 state championship win over Norman North.
BIXBY RELYING ON EXPERIENCE, LEADERSHIP
Since moving up to Class 6A in 2009, Bixby has struggled to find the same success it achieved as a consistent state championship contender for several years in Class 5A.
However, the growing pains of going 12-20 over three seasons in 6A has produced several players with multiple years of starting experience heading into this year.
“From a leadership perspective this is probably the best group of seniors we've had since I've been here,” said coach Loren Montgomery. “We're getting a lot of guys with playing experience back. (Class 6A) is extremely competitive, so we're constantly looking for an advantage. This group understands that and that's why they are working hard all the time.”
Among the top returnees for Bixby will be offensive lineman Chandler Miller, who has verbally committed to Tulsa, and defensive lineman Matt Dreyer. Miller and Dreyer, both seniors, have been mainstays up front as three-year starters.
District 6A-2 coaches' poll
1. Jenks (12-2)
2. Broken Arrow (8-4)
3. Westmoore (6-5)
4. Bixby (4-6)
5. Sapulpa (6-5)
6. Putnam City (6-4)
7. Muskogee (1-8)
8. Tulsa Edison (1-9)
Note: Last year's record in parentheses