PIEDMONT — After surprising some people in his first year at Piedmont, coach Craig Church hopes to keep the program building in the right direction, and that starts with good players to structure the team around.
This year, the focus will be on guys like Christian Foster and Darrius Burris, both of whom played major roles in the team's success last season.
Foster was part of the Wildcats' dynamic offensive trio that included quarterback Collin Bricker and running back Cassius Calhoun, both of whom graduated.
Now, Foster will have a new quarterback throwing to him as he tries to improve on his 952-yard performance of a year ago.
That's where Burris comes in. The 5-foot-11, 225-pound junior was eyed as a replacement for Calhoun at tailback, but he's instead shifting into the quarterback role, while Mitchell McGuiness is getting a look at running back.
Burris knows Foster is a big-time playmaker on the edge at a very athletic 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. He's coming off an injury from basketball season, but should be back for the opener.
“I went up for a rebound and just came down on it wrong and rolled it,” Foster said. “I was in a boot and crutches while the ligaments heal back together. It's getting better.”
Burris will also be asked to run the ball more than Bricker was a year ago, adding another layer to Church's spread offense scheme. In addition, Piedmont could play freshman quarterback Josh Hampton at times and move Burris to tailback.
After a 6-5 season that exceeded outsiders' expectations of the program, Piedmont finds itself in a tough district once again, with opponents like Clinton, Weatherford, Elk City and Anadarko on the schedule.