Edmond Santa Fe should be one of the best teams in Class 6A this season.
The Wolves were 10-2 last year and return some explosive playmakers at running back and wide receiver along with junior quarterback Justice Hansen.
Santa Fe returns six starters on both sides of the ball, including tailback Phillip Sumpter, safety Khari Harding, wide receiver Dale Jefferson and receiver/cornerback Trevan Smith.
“We got some definite holes to fill,” said coach Lance Manning, who is entering his second season leading the Wolves.
“That being said, we lost some good seniors, but we feel like we have a chance to be more athletic. I feel like we are more athletic on both sides of the ball. We have some younger guys that have really panned out and worked hard and filled those needs.”
If Santa Fe is lacking anything, it's size.
“I just don't think we are very big,” Manning said. “We are not as big as a lot of teams. We are not quite as big as we would like to be up front, but we do a great job of making up for that through our movement and technique. I think our feet are good. Although we are not as big up front, I feel like we are more athletic up front. Same thing defensively.”
Even though Santa Fe looks loaded on paper, Hansen knows games are won on the football field.
“Everybody is 0-0 at this point,” he said. “You always have to be trying to get better.”
Hansen burst on the scene as a sophomore, and his quarterback play was one of the major reasons the Wolves bounced back from a dismal 1-9 season two years ago.
“I would expect him to have huge gains,” Manning said. “Generally, from a sophomore to a junior there is a big maturity level, not just physically but mentally as well.
“Justice is one of those kids that works so hard and commits that I would expect him to be much better this year than what he was last year. He showed signs of that all summer. I don't know why that wouldn't continue in the fall.”
Expectations are high at Santa Fe, but Manning said the Wolves must play unselfishly and execute their schemes to have a special season.
“Everybody has high expectations,” he said. “We have some talented kids, but it takes a lot more to win than just having talent.”