High school football: District A-7 preview: Afton favored, but coach likes how team matches up

By Jonathan Greco, Staff Writer, jgreco@opubco.com Published: August 26, 2014
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With the district re-alignments this year, no team in District A-7 was a part of it in 2013.

This year’s A-7 is made up of four teams from A-8, two teams from 2A-8 and one team from B-3. In the newly constructed district, two teams — Afton and Rejoice Christian — won their respective districts last year, and Afton, which was the A-8 champion in 2013, is picked to come out on top this year.

“I like how we match up with most of the new teams (in the district),” Afton coach Zach Gardner said. “There’s a lot of gray area out there as far as what the unexpected might bring as far as just depth and what the new teams are going to do.”

Afton returns Cooper Mitchell as a dual-threat quarterback, and the backbone of the defense in senior middle linebacker Blake Wisdom, who set back-to-back school records in total tackles during his sophomore and junior years.

REJOICE CHRISTIAN MOVES UP, EXPECTS TO CONTINUE SUCCESS

The Rejoice Christian Eagles dominated most of Class B last year.

They recorded a perfect regular season, posting seven shutouts and eight victories in which they scored at least 45 points. Rejoice Christian won its first two games of the postseason by a combined score of 106-12 but ran into the eventual state champions, losing to Laverne in the quarterfinals.

For 2014, coach Albert Kemp and the Eagles make the move up to A-7, returning senior running back Jace Sanchez and junior quarterback Bryan Mead with high expectations.

“Our goal’s not to finish second,” Kemp said. “We’ve been working our tails off to get to where we need to be to compete for a district title, so I think we’ll be able to do that.”

Moving up from Class B to Class A means adjusting from 8-man football to 11-man, but Rejoice Christian’s players are handling that transition fine, Kemp said.

SUMMIT CHRISTIAN QUARTERBACK WILL NEED TO HELP THE RECEIVERS DEVELOP

Senior Cameron Gilbert has posted an impressive career at Summit Christian.

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