High school football: Blanchard has pieces to replace but maintains strong team chemistry

Blanchard is losing quarterback Brock Lamle and receiver Zach Hill to graduation, but the Lions believe their team chemistry and work ethic is strong. And they also return star running back Braden Stringer.
by Trent Shadid Published: May 25, 2013
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photo - Blanchard's Braden Stringer fights off Kingfisher's Keaton Ely during the Class 3A football championship between Blanchard and Kingfisher at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Blanchard won 28-21. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Blanchard's Braden Stringer fights off Kingfisher's Keaton Ely during the Class 3A football championship between Blanchard and Kingfisher at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Blanchard won 28-21. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

After splitting time at running back with departing senior Stephan Davis last season, Stringer is ready to take on the added responsibility next fall. As a junior, he rushed for 1,377 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging more than nine yards per carry.

“Everyone on this team is just as close now as we were before,” Stringer said. “We lost some guys, but we learned a lot from them about how to live a champion lifestyle together. We still have that with us.”

Craig says that the Lions' quarterback job is anyone's to win. While he admits some may be ahead of others, the competition — between sophomore Parker Williams, junior Kanon Kirchner, and senior Braden Bush — will continue into the fall.

“We're not throwing anyone out yet,” Craig said. “We think some guys do certain things better than others at this point, but it's a competition. We're not naming a starter in the spring.”

Even with some uncertainty at quarterback, the Lions remain confident in what they can accomplish next season. Stringer believes that confidence was gained when the team went from missing the playoffs in 2011 to state champions in 2012.

“Over the last couple years we've all been really close,” Stringer said. “As a team, we've bought in to what we're doing and learned how to win. Now that we've tasted what it's like to win state, we just want to go do it again.”

by Trent Shadid
Copy Editor
Trent Shadid is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He was born and raised in Weatherford, Okla., and attended Weatherford High School. Before joining The Oklahoman, he spent two seasons as an assistant wrestling coach at Weatherford High...
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