Coming off a Class 6A runner-up performance last season, and with the move-in of star quarterback David Cornwell, Norman North is viewed as the clear favorite in District 6A-3 this fall.
Cornwell, along with tight ends Payton Prince and Tyler Sipe, provides a passing attack to go with the run game of sophomore Quan Hogan, with 6-foot-7 Trey Wormington anchoring the offensive line.
But the defense is a different story.
Coach Wade Standley's team returns only one starter on the defense that became perhaps its biggest weapon down the stretch.
Cornerback Carter Klein, nose guard Kain Williams and linebacker Mason Volk will play key roles in the rebuilt defense.
“We have 10 new starters on defense,” Standley said. “We will be very young but have some talented guys who are hungry to play and excited for it to be their time.”
WATCH FOR A BOMBER BOUNCE-BACK
After an incredibly frustrating 3-win season, Midwest City is ready to get back to being a regular playoff contender in coach Darrell Hall's second season.
The Bombers will go into preseason camp with a three-player quarterback competition, but whoever comes out on top will have some talented receivers to throw to.
Kesean Brown, Cedric Fair and Anthony Barclay are among that group, and the Bombers have experienced players at several other positions to rely on.
“You can tell a difference already in workouts from last year to this year, with the seniors taking ownership of the team and leading by example,” Hall said.
Edmond North looking at QB options
Edmond North coach Scott Burger hopes to have a starting quarterback named before the Huskies' season opener Sept. 6 against rival Edmond Memorial.
Burger said the battle to replace Luke Hoskins focuses mainly on seniors Brandon Moore and Stephen McClearnan. But he has seen limited work from both, and what happens once pads are allowed will determine the starter.
“We'll just have to see how things go in the scrimmages,” Burger said. “It's different now because you don't have pads and you're just out throwing against the air. Things change when you get pads on. You get people running at you and trying to hit you. You find out a lot more then.”
Hoskins threw for 2,003 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. McClearnan is returning with the most experience, completing 11 of 15 passes for 109 yards and a TD last season. Moore threw just three passes, completing one for 4 yards.
YUKON'S SOMERVILLE LOOKING FOR NEW RECEIVERS
Yukon quarterback Hayden Somerville has a strong offensive line in front of him, led by Tulsa commit Tyler Bowling and center Logan Parks.
But Somerville will have a lot of new faces around him, following the graduation of the team's leading rusher and multiple receivers.
Parker Bohannan and Bradyn Meyer are a pair of experienced seniors who will help at receiver and running back, respectively.
But Meyer has a full workload on defense, where he has led the team in tackles the last two years from his linebacker position.
PANTHERS LOOKING FOR OFFENSE
Putnam City North might only have three returning starters on the defensive side of the ball, but coach Bob Wilson expects that side to be his team's strength early in the season.
The offense has two returners and will break in a new quarterback, junior Chase Sparks.
Defensively, Michael Wofford and Logan Price anchor a strong group of linebackers, with Dylan Peevy coming off a strong junior season at defensive back.
Moore tailback Ryan Lujan will anchor coach Todd Watters' option run game after averaging 5.5 yards per carry as a junior. “He's an extremely tough runner who never fumbles,” Watters said. ... U.S. Grant coach Dan Burgess enters his third year as head coach still trying to build the Generals' numbers. But he'll rely heavily on James Kellum, a versatile junior who can play quarterback, receiver and defensive back.
District 6A-3 coaches' poll
1. Norman North (12-2)
2. Edmond North (10-2)
3. Yukon (5-6)
4. Midwest City (3-7)
5. Lawton Eisenhower (2-8)
6. Putnam City North (6-5)
7. Moore (2-8)
8. U.S. Grant (1-9)
Note: Last year's record in parentheses