AFTON — Is it a reload or a retool of the Afton Eagles?
Neither, according to new head coach Fred Peery.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say either one,” he said. “The main thing is, we’ve got a bunch of young players. We do have some athletic players and we do have a few kids that played last year.
“I really think if they will just believe and buy into everything we are doing, I think we will be fine. I think we will have a pretty good season.”
Afton lost the bulk of its state championship team, including all-state quarterback Wil Amos.
“Everybody is going to have to work together to get it done,” Peery said. “I’ve been talking to them about ‘protect the family.’ ‘Family’ means forget about ‘me,’ ‘I love you’ is how I put it to them. That’s basically that we have each other’s back. If we are going to do it, we are going to have to do it together as a group.”
The Eagles see where they’re at Friday, Aug. 31 when they host Barnsdall.
In other games on Week 1, it’s Fairland at Wyandotte, Commerce at Adair, Welch at Watts and Bluejacket at Claremore Christian.
In Week Zero games, Miami topped Claremore Sequoyah 33-10 Friday, Aug. 24, and Quapaw used a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Seneca JV 33-20 on Monday, Aug. 27.
Afton was eighth in The Oklahoma Associated Press preseason high school poll.
The Eagles were picked to finish fifth in A-6 by Vype behind Commerce (AP No. 7), No. 7 Rejoice Christian (AP No. 12), Colcord and Fairland.
The Eagles went 14-0 on their way to a Class A state championship.
“I think there’s lots of questions out there because people are trying to compare them to last year’s team and teams before that,” Peery said. “It’s unfair to them. I tell them ‘you have to be the best you can be.’ They can’t be Wil Amos. I can’t come here and be Zach Gardner. I don’t want to be.”
Barnsdall, picked fifth in A-5 in the preseason by Vype Magazine, opened its season with a 50-14 Week Zero win against Caney Valley.
The Panthers have a pair of players on the Class A All-Vype team: offensive lineman Cash Perrier, a 6-4, 280-pound junior, and junior Michael Martin (5-9, 165), who was selected as an athlete.
Barnsdall is in a loaded District A-5, which includes AP No. 4 Morrison, AP No. 10 Hominy, Pawnee and Tonkawa.
Barnsdall shared 19th with Hulbert, Christian Heritage Academy and Fairview. All four picked up one point each.
Commerce was seventh, three points ahead of the Eagles, who received three of the nine first-place votes.
The Commerce-Adair clash will be a battle of top 10 teams.
Adair was picked eighth in 2A by AP voters and 10th by Vype and the Tigers were seventh in Class A in the AP.
The Warriors routed Dewey 60-0 in a Week Zero game Friday, Aug. 24.
“Adair is pretty darn good,” Commerce head coach Steve Moss said. “They have speed and size both.”
Adair, up 46-0 at the half, got punt returns of 56 yards from Austin Hines and 61 yards by Barrett Bradbury on back-to-back series.
Bradbury also TD catches of 47 and 60 yards in the first quarter.