It took nine games for someone to finally figure out how to score against the Cherokee defense, and even then, no one managed more than 14 points against the Chiefs, who finished as the undefeated Class C champions with a 38-14 win over Tipton.
But coach Bryce Schanbacher knows replicating last year’s defensive performance won’t be easy, despite returning five starters on that side of the ball.
“We’ve got big shoes to fill at the linebacker positions,” he said.
This season’s strength starts up front, with one of the biggest defensive lines you’ll find in Class C.
Trey Salinas (6-2, 225) and Hunter Jordan (6-2, 215) return at defensive end, with noseguard Kolby Gilley (6-1, 235) sandwiched in the middle.
The Chiefs have experience in the offensive backfield as well, with Tanner Bowman at quarterback and Austin Guffy at running back.
SHATTUCK RETURNS STRONG OFFENSIVE LINE
Tyson Bullard guided Shattuck to a 10-2 record in his first season at the helm, but graduated a lot of experience.
This year’s team will be built around the offensive line, anchored by Chris Baxter, giving the rest of the offense time to gain some playing time to prepare for a tough district schedule.
SIZE KEY FOR SHARON-MUTUAL
The middle of the Sharon-Mutual defense is one of the biggest around, with 250-pound Gage White at defensive tackle and 230-pound Konner Harris at middle linebacker.
Harris also rushed for 946 yards as a fullback, and is joined again by tailback Justin Custer, who accounted for 928 yards on the ground as a freshman last season.
Junior Ben Cooper will shift from receiver to quarterback this season, and also plays a key role on defense, where he had 95 tackles and five interceptions.
SARABIA RETURNS FOR BUFFALO
Coming off a 4-6 season, Buffalo returns all-purpose standout Cristian Sarabia, who accounted for 957 rushing yards and 814 receiving yards last season. The Bison will also count on two-way lineman Coleton Russell, a three-year starter.
Tyrone has only 15 players and most are sophomores and juniors with only one senior on the team… Goodwell was originally set to be in this district, but will not field a team. Instead, the players have been allowed to co-op with Texhoma in Class A.
DISTRICT C-1 COACHES’ POLL
1. Cherokee (12-0)
2. Shattuck (10-2)
3. Balko (8-3)
4. Sharon-Mutual (11-2)
5. Waynoka (6-5)
6. Boise City (4-6)
7. Tyrone (2-7)
8. Buffalo (4-6)
*Last year’s records in parentheses