Preseason practices didn't get off to the start first-year Midwest City coach Darrell Hall wanted.
Quarterback Joel Davis, who threw for more than 1,500 yards in helping lead the Bombers to an undefeated regular season as a junior, suffered an arm injury in a baseball game two days before practice began and was lost for the year.
In his place, the Bombers will turn to junior Kilby McGuire.
Hall, who came to Midwest City after winning titles at both Tulsa Washington and Star Spencer, said he was looking for ways to use McGuire offensively anyway.
“We were going to try to get Kilby in the game, every game, and not just in mop-up duty,” Hall said.
McGuire also got plenty of experience with the first team over the summer when Davis was playing baseball.
McGuire's top targets through the air figure to be seniors Cornell Neal and Zac Brannon.
Neal will also play safety.
“He's solid,” Hall said. “He just makes plays on both sides. I think he's ready for a breakout season.”
Brannon has impressed Hall with his improvements since the spring.
“He worked really hard this summer to get better,” Hall said. “He's doing a great job of catching balls and making plays.”
But like most Midwest City teams recently, the run figures to be the Bombers' bread and butter this season.
After a run that included brothers John, Timothy and James Flanders, there are no more Flanders in the backfield for Midwest City.
But Qualan Johnson has shown flashes of being a comparable runner.
“He's taking care of the ball, which is the biggest thing,” Hall said.
Johnson is also getting pushed by junior Brian Hartsfield.
After being banged up a bit in the spring and early in the summer, Carlos Freeman looks to be healthy on the offensive line.
Freeman is moving from tackle to guard, where he's expected to play in college.
“He's moving very well,” Hall said. “We had a little scrimmage in the first few days of practice, and I don't think he was ever less than five yards down the field on any run.”
On the defensive side, Midwest City returns just three starters from last year.
The biggest is Victor Sanders (6-foot-1, 301 pounds) on the defensive front.
“I'm impressed with the way they're flying around the ball,” Hall said. “If we can keep doing that, we're going to be successful.”