Progress Sports Writer
One thing about being a second-year football program. There’s plenty of room to improve.
Just ask Claremore Christian School coach Ryan Mullins.
Last year, the Warriors took to the football field for the first time, and finished with a 4-4 record.
“We had 12 kids come out, and it was tough getting them to work hard, and work together, but we were still glad to win four games,” he said.
This season, as the Warriors compete as an independent in the eight-man game, Mullins has 15 players on his roster.
Only two, quarterback Travis Poole and lineman Matt Osborn (6-0, 185), are seniors.
“We are bigger and faster this season,” Mullins said. “The off-season lifting and running has really helped our players gain. Top to bottom.”
Mullins might have added another asset about his team: Experience.
Poole (6-1, 160) started every game, and threw for 1,258 yards.
His favorite target, wide receiver Ryan Deckard, also returns. The 6-1, 155-pound junior caught a dozen passes last year, two for touchdowns.
CCS employed a wide-open offense last season. Poole averaged nearly 40 passes per game.
Mullins expects little to change this year.
The Warriors will undoubtedly be a pass-first, run-second type of team, thanks to the skills of Poole.
In their inaugural game as a football team, the Warriors dropped a 48-14 decision.
They open their second season against the same opponent.
“This will be a big game for us,” Mullins said. “It will show us how we are coming along since last year, and what changes we need to make.”
A year ago, CCS played its home games at Verdigris.
At this point, with their first two games on the road, the Warriors have not settled on a home site.
It’s just part of launching a program.
Mullins, the school’s superintendent, hopes to help this program grow and mature, perhaps leading to a small-school league or conference.
Mullins oversees a staff of five volunteer coaches. He calls them “students of the game” and says that they share a common vision.
“Our staff wants to be successful and expand the program every year,” he said. “This is just the beginning. We want more kids and more games.
“We have kids that love to be here, love football, and are working hard, even in the heat, to get better.”
Mullins is looking to the future.
And in the program’s second season, he says there is room for improvement.