It’s never easy to replace a four-time all-state player, but if anyone can, it’s Calvert.

That’s the situation the Trojans find themselves in, after the departure of JaQuan Thompson. Nevertheless, they still return 10 players from a 12-1 team and should be pretty formidable again.

The race for the No. 2 spot in this district looks wide open. Oglesby brings in a proven winner in new coach Harley Ethridge, while Prairie Lea is brimming with confidence after achieving its first winning season since 1951. And though Buckholts won only two games in 2016, the Badgers return all six starters.

Oglesby Tigers

  • LAST SEASON — 7-3 (2-1)
  • RETURNING STARTERS — 2 offensive, 3 defensive
  • COACH JACK GRAVES — 25-16 at Oglesby

Playoff history: 13-12 in 12 trips, most recently 2016; 0 state championships

Outlook: Fate dealt Oglesby a winner. Funny how these things work out sometimes.

New coach Harley Ethridge moved to the area when his wife took the principal job at Oglesby. Then a spot opened up for Ethridge when Jack Graves left to take the head job at Gustine.

Ethridge has an impressive coaching track record at Follett and, before that, Richland Springs, where he won three state championships while his son, Tyler, set all manner of records.

Ethridge is introducing all the same concepts and alignments he has used with great success in the past. “It’s overwhelming to the kids at first,” he admitted. “Because we don’t start with the fundamentals, we start with the complicated stuff.”

But Ethridge thinks the Tigers could field a strong team. C/DL Nick Norrell, QB/WR Jose Mata and RB/LB Skyler Frillou all gained valuable experience last season, with Norrell and Frillou combining for 168 tackles defensively as freshmen.

A couple of up-and-comers who have made an impression in the preseason are freshman Ian Markum and sophomore Carson Shaw.

Schedule

9/2 at Parkview Christian 6:30

9/8 at Gholson 7:30

9/15 Covington 7:30

9/22 at Kopperl 7:30

9/28 McDade 7:30

10/7 Jonesboro JV 7:30

10/13 at Cranfills Gap 7:30

10/27 Calvert 7:30*

11/3 at Prairie Lea 7:30*

11/10 Buckholts 7:30*

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