Coming off a season in which Ada went unbeaten in District 4A-2, the Cougars were voted almost unanimously as the favorite to win the district once again.
But running the table will be even tougher this season.
Douglass will be strong again, and Glenpool should bounce back from a down year. Both McLoud and Mannford are expected to challenge for playoff spots as well, while Tecumseh and Harrah have shown in recent years that they can get into the mix, too.
Ada's strength will be in the trenches, where the bulk of their seven returning starters can be found.
Cameron Large, Eli Flinn and Jeromy Barker will anchor the offensive line, with Jacob Reed and Micah Simmer both returning at defensive end spots.
DOUGLASS O-LINE PLAYING KEY ROLE
Over the last five years, Douglass has been among the most productive rushing offenses in the state. But after graduating their top two running backs, the workload falls on an experienced offensive line to keep up that productivity.
The Trojans return quarterback Patrick McKaufman, now a 6-foot-5 sophomore, who will benefit from an offensive line that includes seniors Jordan Stevenson, Deangelo Woodward and Mildren Montgomery, a Texas Tech commit.
Douglass returns seven defensive starters and should be strong in the box.
In addition to defensive end Deondre Clark, an LSU commit, the Trojans have defensive end Jalil England back, along with linebackers Johnny Jones and Brandon Jackson.
McLOUD'S WOOD LEADS EXPERIENCED OFFENSE
Joseph Wood established himself as one of Class 4A's better quarterbacks last year, and with eight other starters returning alongside him, the McLoud offense looks to be in good hands.
Wood, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior, is being recruited by a variety of Division II programs and could elevate his status with another good year.
Most importantly, he has a strong offensive line in front of him, anchored by Brian Heath, 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, and Aaron Smith, 6-foot-3, 320 pounds.
Wood also has one of his top receiving targets back in Will Olds, a fourth-year starter who had 455 receiving yards last year.
Tecumseh coach Greg George has a tall task ahead replacing a very productive backfield duo of quarterback Colton Owen and running back Julian Tramble. ... Harrah maintained some continuity within its coaching staff by promoting Phil Webb to head coach after Greg Willis left to take the Purcell job. ... Some see Mannford as a team on the rise. Multiple coaches voted them as a playoff team in their preseason polls. ... Santa Fe South is heading in the right direction entering James Whitley's second year as head coach: “This is our first year with a full coaching staff, and we feel like the kids are responding well to what we're doing,” he said.
District 4A-2 coaches' poll
1. Ada (12-1)
2. Douglass (7-4)
3. McLoud (6-5)
4. Glenpool (3-7)
5. Mannford (3-7)
6. Tecumseh (6-4)
7. Harrah (1-9)
8. Santa Fe South (1-9)
Note: Last year's records in parentheses