NORMAN — Noble has improved every season since coach Steve Barrett returned to the program three years ago. That meant a 5-5 season a year ago and a near-miss in the playoff race.
The Bears figure to be better this season, with a host of talent back. But they will have to make due without one of those players — quarterback Dakota Boxwell — for the first several weeks of the season.
Boxwell injured a ligament in his throwing hand in a noodling accident during the summer, and will be unable to take snaps for the first three games of the season.
While Barrett expects to him to return under center in time for district play, he’ll spend the first month of the season playing wideout for the Bears.
In the meantime, Cory Jennings will take Boxwell’s place in the huddle.
Jennings, who will remain a fixture in the backfield even after Boxwell returns, will key the Bears’ power running game. He’ll be one of eight returning starters on offense.
“We’ve got most of the same guys back,” Barrett said. “We don’t have the dropoff this year we’ve had in the past. We’re much more consistent this year.”
Expectations high in Washington: Washington continued its run of 22 straight playoff appearances last season by advancing to the second round. It was a good season by anyone’s standards, but it left the Warriors wanting more.
“I expect us to be at OSU at Dec. 14 for the championship,” senior Logan Fertic said. “I feel like even if we won the championship by a touchdown, we’d be thinking about how we could have won by more. We aren’t ever satisfied.”
The Warriors face a deep district that features Frederick and Lindsay, but are confident they can compete for the title.
“There are definitely some expectations on this team this year, but they have what it takes,” coach Brad Beller said. “They’re after a district championship.”
First scrimmages approaching: While intrasquad scrimmages are taking place today for Norman High and Norman North, both teams are busy preparing for the first full scrimmage next week.
North scrimmages first, traveling to Edmond Santa Fe on Thursday, while NHS will travel to Bixby on Friday for its first scrimmage of the year.
Tigers filling holes on defense: Norman High returns most of its defensive line, but the secondary will be rebuilding this season. And that process is far from over.
“We’ve got a lot of spots open there right now,” coach Greg Nation said. “Some guys are ahead of others right now, but right now we don’t have a clear first team and second team.”
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