Darwin Franklin’s first season at Millwood presented one type of challenge, seeing how quickly he could integrate his philosophies into a senior-laden team.
After finishing as the Class 2A runner-up and graduating several long-time starters on every level of the offense and defense, the Falcons pose a different coaching challenge in Franklin’s second year.
Franklin will try to latch onto the experience of a small but talented senior class led by the likes of Sheldon Bulock and Andre Clanton, who will both play key roles at running back and linebacker.
Micah Sanders, 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, is one of the team’s most gifted athletes and will be used as a receiver and defensive back.
The lines took a hit with the loss of Josh Little, a Kansas State commit who moved to Florida in late July, but D’Andre Mays provides consistency on both sides.
“Our play will reflect or preparation,” Franklin said. “We must play with a chip on our shoulder and take nothing for granted.”
CHA MOVING FORWARD WITH DIFFERENT MERRELL
For the first time in three decades, Christian Heritage Academy will have a new football coach.
Longtime coach John Merrell resigned over the summer, turning the team over to his son Tony following 31 years in charge.
John Merrell will remain the school’s athletic director.
“It was just the right thing to do,” he said. “I couldn’t give it the time and energy those players and coaches deserved.”
Merrell’s daughter Jenni Kufahl recently died following a lengthy battle with cancer.
CHA went 8-4 last season and returns talented receiver Gabe LittleJim, who caught 27 TD passes last season. Braden Mikes is also making the move to receiver and free safety.
OCS’ FRANKFURT PICKING UP IVY LEAGUE INTEREST
Oklahoma Christian School running back and linebacker Luke Frankfurt saw his recruiting begin to take shape in the spring with interest from multiple Ivy League schools.
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District 2A-2 coaches’ poll
1. Millwood (14-1)
2. Christian Heritage (8-4)
(Tie) Oklahoma Christian (9-4)
4. Luther (4-6)
(Tie) Crooked Oak (6-5)
6. Wellston (1-9)
7. Northeast (1-9)
*Last year’s records in parentheses