It is football season in Rogers County.

With that in mind, several teams in the area begin their 2019 campaign this Friday in hopes of making a run to the postseason.

Inola and Foyil got an early start to the season with losses to Lincoln Christian (51-19) and Claremore Christian (50-12), respectively, but Oologah and Catoosa are among those opening things up on Sept. 6.

Here is a peak of what expect from those four teams this season.

Editor’s note: Chelsea did not return contact to provide information, so the Dragons aren’t included in this roundup.

INOLA

2018 Recap: After a 15-13 victory in early October against Locust Grove, which eventually finished in a tie for second in District 3A-4, Inola stood 4-2.

But a 13-7 overtime home loss the next week to Rogers County rival Verdigris, coupled with a season-ending injury to standout WR/CB Wyatt Oliver, sent the Longhorns on a downward spiral toward a 5-5 season and 3-4 district mark.

Leading tackler Danny Brockup also was hampered by an injury last season.

Three Storylines

Finish what you start: Inola started fast last year but then ended the year being victorious just once in its final four contests, including dropping the final two to prevent a winning season.

Must replace big senior class: Gone this year for Longhorns coach Jeff Williams is a group of some 15 seniors who were a big part of the 2018 team.

Included in that group were four starters on the offensive line, with two of those individuals having started since their freshman years.

Seeking depth: Besides replacing the seniors who graduated, the Longhorns need to find reserves behind the new crop of starters this year. Staying healthy will be important.

Players to Watch

QB Landon Prows: As a sophomore a year ago, he started all 10 Longhorn games and finished the year in style by passing for more than 800 yards and six touchdowns in the final three games.

WR Dalton Norman: Led team in receptions last year. A junior this season, he set a school single-game mark with 12 catches against Vinita in 2018.

OLB Jeremiah Womack: Among state leader in sacks last year with 10. As a senior, he will be counted on for leadership on defense in 2019.

FS/WR Ethan Trosky: Perhaps the best pure athlete on this year’s squad, he started at free safety as a junior a year ago and will be a key two-way player this season.

District 3A-4 Preview

Perennial district champ Berryhill, which won its first 11 games last year before suffering its only defeat, should once again be the team to beat, but Cascia Hall and Verdigris could push the Chiefs for the district’s top spot.

Inola, Vinita and Jay could wage a battle for any district playoff berth(s) remaining.

Claremore Progress District Prediction

1. Berryhill

2. Cascia Hall

3. Verdigris

4. Inola

5. Vinita

6. Jay

7. Locust Grove

8. Sequoyah

FOYIL

2018 Recap: After a season-opening loss, Foyil reeled off eight-straight wins while eclipsing 45 points in seven of those victories.

The streak came to an end with a home loss to District B-8 champ and eventual state runner-up Regent Prep. The Panthers dropped a 20-12 decision to Yale in the opening round of the playoffs to end the year 8-3 overall and 4-1 in district action.

Three Storylines

Stellar defense: After allowing opponents only 134 points (12.2 points a game) last year, the Panthers will try to continue its stellar play on defense in 2019 for coach Jonathan Hall.

A season ago, Foyil’s held seven opponents to six or fewer points a game while posting four shutouts.

Air show: While Foyil will rely on its running game once again this season with quarterback Lane Ross under center, don’t be surprised to see the Panthers open up their passing game behind the talented sophomore.

Big shoes to fill: Having lost 11 seniors from the 2018 team, with most having been two-way players, Foyil has to find replacements for several positions with players who saw reserve duty last year.

Players to Watch

RB/DB Stone Platt: Key player on both sides of the ball for the Panthers a year ago.

C R.J. Roberts: Moves to center this season after playing offensive guard in 2018.

NG Jared Pendergraft: Stalwart on Foyil’s stingy defense last season.

OG/NG Jacob Kendall: Another pivotal offensive-defensive performer for the Panthers.

District B-8 Preview

Once again Foyil finds itself in the same district with Regent Prep, which is considered to be a favorite to capture the state title.

After finishing second in the district a year ago, the Panthers should vie with Oaks, Summit Christian and Watts for a playoff spot.

Claremore Progress District Prediction

1. Regent Prep

2. Oaks

3. Foyil

4. Summit Christian

5. Watts

6. South Coffeyville

OOLOGAH

2018 Recap: Oologah dropped three its first five games a year ago but rebounded to win four-consecutive contests late in the season.

Included in that winning streak was an 18-15 home overtime conquest of district champ Wagoner. But a District 4A-3 road setback to Rogers County rival Catoosa and a shutout loss to Poteau in the first round of the playoffs left the Mustangs 5-6 overall and 5-2 in district play.

Multiple-year starters running back Ty Dixon and wide receiver/defensive back Jared Taylor, along with center Braden Vanderpool, keyed the Mustangs in 2018.

Three Storylines

Early-season tests: As was the case a year ago, coach Chad Weeks and the Mustangs open the season with nondistrict contests against Collinsville and Skiatook—both Class 5A opponents—and Class 4A Hillsdale. Oologah went 0-3 against those teams in 2018.

Different defense: With a new defensive coordinator on board, the Mustangs will be multiple on defense in hopes of improving the 23.7 points per game allowed opponents in 2018.

Return to glory: Class 3A state champions in 1997 and 1998, Oologah hopes to return to the state title game in 2019. The Mustangs were Class 4A state runner-up to district rival Wagoner in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Players to Watch

QB Blake Salt: As a junior this season, Salt has already established himself as a vocal team leader.

TE Travis Rogers: A quarterback a year ago, the senior will transition to tight end for 2019.

WR Brennan Davis, WR Chase Gibson, WR Cooper Christian: The trio of seniors should play a big role in the passing game.

DL Rocky Duncan: He should anchor the Mustangs’ defensive front.

LB Zach Huddleston, LB Aidan Trimble: Huddleston, a senior, and Trimble, a sophomore, will be called on to lead the Mustangs’ new defensive scheme.

District 4A-3 Preview

Wagoner, which has claimed four Class 4A state titles since 2011, remains the team to knock off in order to claim the district title.

In its first year in District 4A-3 a year ago, Bristow’s lone district loss was to the Bulldogs. Oologah looks to challenge Wagoner and Bristow for district supremacy.

Catoosa tops a list of five teams also seeking a district playoff berth.

District predictions follow Catoosa.

CATOOSA

2018 Recap: Led by the play of quarterback Daniel Queen, the run-oriented Indians sprinted to seven wins in its first eight contests with the lone loss coming to eventual District 4A-3 champion Wagoner on the way to an 8-3 season and 5-2 mark in district play.

Catoosa’s other district loss came to Bristow. The Indians defeated Rogers County foe Oologah, 30-12, in the district finale before being blanked by Broken Bow in the opening round of the playoffs.

Three Storylines

New looks: With Jason Medrano taking over the reins as head coach, Catoosa will have some new looks on both offense and defense.

Rather than the rushing-dominated offense of recent seasons, the Indians will feature a wide-open style in which Medrano plans to spread the field.

Defensively, Catoosa will switch from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-3-5 stack.

Mirroring Muskogee: If fans see a lot of similarities this season between Catoosa’s offense and that of Class 6A-II Muskogee, it might be because Medrano was offensive coordinator for the Roughers before coming to pilot the Rogers County school.

Departing seniors: Catoosa saw 18 seniors depart a year ago with about a dozen of that number playing integral roles in the success of last year’s team. Finding replacements for those seniors will be paramount.

Players to Watch

WR Jaylon Otero: Incoming senior will compete on the gridiron for the first time since being in seventh grade.

WR Riley Treat: Another senior wideout who does not have significant experience at the high school level.

LB/RB Dylan Velazquez: Last year, as a junior, he played both offense and defense.

WR/RB/QB/FS Gavin Phillips: A multi-purpose player, the senior will be used as the quarterback in wildcat situations.

District 4A-3 Preview

Wagoner, which captured Class 4A state titles in 2014, 2015 and 2016, still is the team to knock off in the district although Bristow made its presence known last year while Oologah handed Wagoner its only district loss.

Catoosa and Grove head a list of five teams that will be in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Claremore Progress District Prediction

1. Wagoner

2. Bristow

3. Oologah

4. Catoosa

5. Grove

6. Cleveland

7. Miami

8. McLain

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