Newcastle’s Bergt steady presence in move to 4A
Newcastle coach Keith Bolles said he doesn’t really know what to expect with the Racers moving to Class 4A this season.
But he knows what to expect from senior running back Zach Bergt.
“He’s got a lot of games under his belt and he knows how to handle adversity,” Bolles said. “He’ll step in there and he gets very yard he can get. That’s one of the best things about him is he’s hard to bring down the first time he gets hit.”
Bergt rushed for 1,006 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
He’s expected to bring some balance to the offense following a strong summer in the 7-on-7 circuit.
NEW COACH MAKING CHANGES AT NOBLE
Greg George moves over to Noble from Tecumseh, and the new system in play is going well. Noble and Tecumseh are familiar foes despite being in different classes (Noble in 5A and Tecumseh 4A), and George said that played a big role in implementing a new system.
“We play each other every year,” George said. “And they know what I do.”
That includes the spread offense he is implementing for the Bears
“We’re going to spread the ball around and get the ball in the athletes’ hands,” George said.
MCGREGOR MOVING TO QB FOR PURCELL
Purcell senior Mac McGregor is making the move from receiver to quarterback to lead the Dragons this season.
McGregor brings dual-threat ability to the position as he is replacing three-year starter Drew Rolin. The Dragons are also replacing 1,000-yard running back Dominique Gavia.
Despite the losses offensively, Purcell returns nine starters on a defense that is expected to be a strength this season.
In its first season under coach Greg Willis a year ago, Purcell went 6-5 and fell to eventual state champion Kingfisher in the first round of the playoffs.
WAYNE HOPING TO DODGE INJURY BUG
Wayne coach Brandon Sharp hopes his Bulldogs can stay healthy this season.
“Last year, we did get hit with the injury bug,” Sharp said.
None was more devastating than the injury to running back Louden Johnson, who is now playing for East Central University.
“We were 4-1 with him and 0-5 without him,” Sharp said.
Wayne returns just five starters from last year’s 4-6 team, but Sharp said the 2014 Bulldogs do have talent.
“We have got an athletic team,” he said. “I feel like we’ve got some skill. The issue is experience.”
Sharp anticipates starting five or six sophomores.
“That’s a good group,” Sharp said of the sophomore class. “They are athletic. They do a lot of good things on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, we are a little bit timid right now but I think we are going to have pretty good team speed.”
Wayne returns two senior starters on defense in defensive tackle Cole Ellis (6-4, 215 pounds) and defensive end Braden Mills (510, 195 pounds). Both missed significant playing time last year because of injury.
Senior quarterback Joe Martin (6-1, 195 pounds) also is back after taking over the signal-calling duties midway through last season.
“He had a good offseason and worked hard through the summer,” Sharp said. “We are expecting him to have a good year.”
Wayne has a young team that should get better as the season progresses.
“The future is bright for us,” Sharp said.
SENIOR LEADERSHIP A DRASTIC IMPROVEMENT AT LITTLE AXE
Little Axe coach Ted Dorrell’s face beams with pride when he talks about the leadership his players have developed over the past year.
Running back SirDell Lynn said working on that leadership was a priority coming into the season.
“Last year we slacked a little and it was not so good,” said Lynn, who is expected to be a big part of the Indians’ offense. “We just decided to emphasize on the leadership and just train hard.”
None of the Little Axe seniors have reached the postseason, and Lynn wants to make a playoff appearance just to send the seniors out on a good note.
“The seniors have never been to the playoffs, and we hope to make a difference,” he said. “Us seniors, it’s our last chance.”
LEXINGTON EXCITED ABOUT DEPTH
Lexington coach Jeff Hall said his experience and leadership is in his offensive line and that is a good place to have it.
A veteran group will lead the way for Lexington quarterback Kyle Hokett, who threw for more than 2,000 yards last season.
“He’s probably got the strongest arm I’ve seen as a coach,” Hall said. “He had a big year last year in his first year at the position.”
Leading the offensive line is left tackle Tyler Brown (6-6, 315). Hall said Brown makes the line go and should provide a steady pocket for Hokett to work.
Defensively, Hall is leaning on three-year starter and inside linebacker John Burton. Burton, a junior, is a vocal leader with plenty of experience to lead Hall’s 3-4 defense.
JAMES LEADS DIBBLE
The fate of Dibble’s season may very well depend on the ability of senior quarterback Braeden James to carry the Demons.
James accounted for over 2,000 yards of offense and has 15 career interceptions as a defensive back.
“He’s a guy who is a vocal leader and a tough kid,” said Dibble coach Chad Stone. “He’s just a kid that others look to for leadership. We’re going to go how Braeden James goes.”
Stone also expects senior linebacker Nick Hearon to have a big season as the Demons look to make a push toward the playoffs after going 4-6 in 2013.
“I’m optimistic about our team,” Stone said. “We’re not real big. If our linemen can come along and hold their own we’re going to be able to give people some problems, I think.”
BRIDGE CREEK OFFENSE LOOKING TO IMPROVE
The Bridge Creek offense scored just 117 points and was shut out four times in 2013, which has sparked some motivation for the Bobcats after an 0-10 season.
Jimmy Wynne returns at quarterback for his senior year and is looking to lead the offense to some victories. He threw for eight touchdowns and ran for two more.
Last season, Pauls Valley missed the playoffs for the first time since 2010 while going 2-8 under first-year coach Bill Green. The Panthers will rely on senior Coleton Jolley to make plays on both sides of the ball…. J.J. Cortez will run Community Christian’s offense as the Royals will play in the OSSAA for the first time as a member of District A-4.
BY JACOB UNRUH, TRENT SHADID, ED GODFREY, CHRIS BRANNICK
AND JONathan GRECO