Commerce is the standard in District A-8, and the Tigers enter 2009 with a 52-game winning streak in district play.
Commerce coach Willie Ng
, entering his second season, said the offense will be better than last season’s squad that averaged 43.6 points per game and will provide better support for an already stingy defense that led the team to a 10-1 record, losing 24-23 in the first round of the playoffs to Hominy.
The 2008 defense allowed just 4.5 points per game and enjoyed a streak of 21 consecutive scoreless quarters.
Ng said he doesn’t want to act like the winning streak isn’t a point of pride for the community, but he said the end of last season could qualify as a disappointment and the team has been working all off-season to make sure a similar playoff fate does not await them.
"The kids that grow up here expect to win, there is a very high precedent,” Ng said. "I don’t want to downplay the season or the streak, but it’s all about gold balls here.”
Oklahoma Union hoping to rely on speed
The Oklahoma Union Cardinals had a tough season in 2008, finishing 3-7 and 3-6 in district play, but coach Lance Williams
said the growing pains might be a necessary evil in building the team’s future.
Union was one of the youngest teams in the state last year, and not much has changed in 2009 as the Cardinals return 14 starters, but just two are seniors. Only four seniors are on the roster. In addition to their youth, the Cardinals are also small, which Williams said has been the focal point of the offseason. But it hasn’t been about getting bigger, it’s been about getting faster.