Blitz on 6 Preseason Previews: 1A DII
TEXOMA, Texas (KAUZ) - Our Blitz on 6 preseason previews in class 1A Division II:
The Eagles of Chillicothe are working through a transition year with some young faces.
There are only three seniors on this year’s Eagle’s team, with Chillicothe losing a number of key players that helped lead them on a playoff run this season.
Head coach Chad Young will look to quarterback Logan Graham, running back Alex Guffey and fullback Julian Vasquez to help teach the underclassmen and to help Coach Young establish new team dynamics.
“We’re really going to have to figure out what roles they’re going to have to take really get them to contirbute,” Coach Young said, “and that’s going to be the key, especially early.”
He said he’s got a lot of faith in his offensive line this year and will look to spend the practices before the first regular season game building up the team’s defense (a side of the ball he said his players have historically struggled with).
Chillicothe kicks off its season away against Hedley.
Head coach Joe Helms said he wants to make sure the notion that “Gold-Burg is a bye week” is long gone.
The Bears are coming in number two in District 10, and are returning not only a number of starters but have nearly doubled in size, coming in with fifteen players this year compared to last year’s eight.
Coach Helms said while that depth will help them be able to push harder in games and give home to a play-off fight, he said it’s all about the player’s mentality.
He said he can pinpoint the exact moment last season where his players started to buy into that winning attitude.
‘‘We got the first win in overtime and you’d think we won the Super Bowl, non-district game week three, and then we went on a five game winning streak, so we’ve kind of turned the tide on expectations,” he said, “so until it happens it’s hard for kids to buy in. I think we saw a lot of that last year.”
The Bears will look to carry that Super Bowl winning feeling into their season opener on their own field against the Perrin-Whitt Pirates.
The Greyhounds are the only Texoma team in Division II coming into the season ranked at No. 12. They went undefeated in district play last year and only gave up two losses. Head Coach CJ Hantz said he has multiple starters returning who are going to keep that momentum going.
Known as his “cat-daddies” this season, Coach Hantz said he’ll be leaning on this year the three all-state players who are returning: fullback Josh Woods; safety Braden Crow; running back Carson Myer; as well as tight end Jory Norton who received all-region honors.
Coach Hantz said to make up for the key losses to graduation his team had he’s pushing them through rough practices to make sure the Greyhounds are as strong as possible and can’t be out-hit.
“just the adversity that our kids see every day, we put them through tough stuff every day, just so they can be comfortable with those situations in a game,” he said, “just hard nose, smash mouth, just those things our kids are used to that others aren’t, that’s a big strength of ours.”
The Greyhounds are projected to lead the district, with Myer coming in as the preseason offensive MVP. Those accolades get put to the test when Throckmorton takes on Bluff Dale away.
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