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District A-3 football preview: Ringling the pick again, despite losing 18 seniors

Ringling graduated 18 seniors last spring. It was a group that went 25-3 the past two seasons, won a state championship two years ago and didn’t lose a district game in three years.
by Ed Godfrey Published: August 22, 2014
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Ringling graduated 18 seniors last spring, 14 of whom were two-way starters.

It was a group that went 25-3 the past two seasons, won a state championship two years ago and didn’t lose a district game in three years.

It’s a lot of experience to lose but “it’s nothing we don’t face every year,” said Blue Devils coach Tracy Gandy. “What is unusual is to have 18 boys playing football in one class.”

Still, the Blue Devils are once again the pick to win the district, although it was a close vote with Velma-Alma in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Ringling still has talent and some experience, led by senior lineman Riley Daniel (6-6, 310 pounds), who is committed to the University of Houston.

Also returning are senior tight end/defensive end Bailey Williamson (6-2, 210 pounds) and senior defensive back/wide receiver Austin Rogers (510, 170 pounds).

Perhaps the biggest returnee is senior running back Joe Hill (5-10, 170 pounds) who is coming back from a knee injury.

“He looks great,” Gandy said. “It’s not like we are going into this thing with kids that haven’t played.”

Gandy will find out a lot about his club in the season opener against Oklahoma Christian School. The Blue Devils are used to tough season openers. Ringling lost to defending Class 2A state champion Davis in the season opener the past four years.

“There are a lot worse things then starting a season 0-1,” Gandy said. “The worst thing is going into district games not knowing what you really are. I’m sure there were a lot of folks in our community that didn’t like me scheduling Davis, but they don’t hand out a title in the first week.”

COMETS EYEING DISTRICT CROWN

Velma-Alma returns eight starters on both sides of the ball and expects to challenge Ringling this season for the district crown.

“Going into the spring we were very excited about the guys we have coming back,” said Comets’ coach Colt Allison, who takes over as head coach after one year as an assistant coach at the school.

“I don’t think we have missed a beat on either side of the ball. We feel like there is enough talent on the field to make a good run at it (district title).”

Last year’s starting quarterback, senior Ty Richardson, is moving to fullback and junior Andrew McGuire (6-2, 160 pounds) is taking over at quarterback.

The Comets also return senior lineman Creede Wright (6-2, 295 pounds, a three-year starter) and are two deep at most positions.

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by Ed Godfrey
Copy Editor, Outdoors Editor, Rodeo, River Sports Reporter
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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