Thomas has moved from District A-2 to A-1, and the majority of the district’s coaches pick the Terriers to be the A-1 champions.
Thomas knows a lot about two of its district foes — Sayre and Burns Flat-Dill City also made the move from A-2 — and is familiar with the rest of the district. The Terriers faced current district foe Texhoma in a playoff game last year, giving them an idea of what panhandle football is like.
“We’ve been out in the panhandle a few different times, and we know the teams we’re playing out there,” Terriers coach Bob Ward said. “The schools are very similar. They’ll be good competition and it’ll be very competitive.”
MOORELAND COACH CHALLENGES OFFENSIVE LINE
The Bearcats are returning a lot of experience in 2014, with 10 offensive starters and nine defensive starters coming back.
While coach Frank Howard liked how his team played last year and wants all of his players to improve upon last year’s playoff-less 6-4 season, he especially is challenging the offensive line if his team is going to make a run at the playoffs.
“We’re really hoping that those offensive linemen step it up and make a big impact for us this year,” Howard said. “They’re going to have to be a lot more physical. They have to open up holes for us and be more consistent on blocking the right guy.”
TEXHOMA CO-OPTING WITH GOODWELL
Instead of co-opting with Yarbrough this year, Goodwell will be sending some of its football players to Texhoma for the 2014 season.
Texhoma’s new coach Ryan Jackson and the Red Devils welcome nine Goodwell players, giving Texhoma 33 varsity players. Of the nine, three or four of the players from Goodwell should be starters, Jackson said.
“This helps tremendously with depth and size,” Jackson. “It’s meshing really well. Everything is good.”
Thomas quarterback Trent Dunaway is back for his senior year and has improved since last year simply in the fact he has a better understanding of the offense, Ward said. … Mooreland’s Kyler Hensley had a productive sophomore year, posting more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns as a dual-threat quarterback. He is also a team captain this year. ... Beaver will be looking for another solid year from running back Hadley Skaggs, who ran for 1,225 yards and 14 touchdowns during his junior season. … Texhoma’s players, led by senior quarterback Jacob Test, are adjusting to new coach Jackson’s scheme well considering he and former Red Devils head coach Aaron Witten come from similar backgrounds and have similar coaching styles.
DISTRICT A-1 COACHES’ POLL
1. Thomas (10-2)
2. Fairview (7-4)
3. Mooreland (6-4)
4. Texhoma (5-6)
5. Hooker (2-7)
6. Beaver (2-8)
7. Sayre (3-6)
8. Burns Flat-Dill City (0-10)
*Last year’s records in parentheses