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City public schools set goals for 2011 football season

By Patrick B. McGuigan
Executive Editor

Keith Synor, new athletic director for the Oklahoma City Public Schools, takes justifiable pride in the success of the system’s athletic teams in 2010-11, pointing to a range of championships (one in football) and competitive squads in many sports.

At the dawn of the fall 2011 season, Synor – who came to the city from Deer Creek City–, told local sports reporters, “There are a lot of good things going on for our program.” He predicted renovations under way at Northwest High and Taft Stadium would result in “beautiful facilities.” Like other coaches, he said bond programs improving Taft (at NW 23 and May Avenue) and C.B. Speegle (in Capitol Hill) demonstrate the district’s commitment to “getting better and better.”

“We’re raising the expectations and taking away the excuses, giving coaches the things they need. It will take time, but we will continue to improve in athletics,” Synor concluded.

Coach Willis Alexander and the Trojans of Frederick A. Douglass High School traveled to “Jerry’s World” – the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium in Arlington, Texas this week. They entered a Monday night (Sept. 5) battle with DeSoto, one of the best teams in the Lone Star State. Just five days later (this Saturday, Sept. 10), his lads will take the short road trip to Millwood for the annual “Soul Bowl.” This is about as tough a set of games as can be imagined.

Alexander said it is “a responsibility and honor” to lead the program at the school, which has soared to the top in basketball and football in recent years. With a broad grin, he said the culture and expectations in the Douglass community can be “a little unreal” at times.

He hinted the stellar 12-2 Class 4A championship season of a year ago may be hard to repeat. Reporters nudged him to predict the 2011 campaign, but Alexander said only “every week will be a challenge.” Finally, he modestly projected ahead, saying “our expectation is to make the playoffs, and once we get there, to win four games.”
That would, of course, mean another state title. Hoping to help with that process is outside linebacker Cayman Bundage, among Oklahoma’s finest players, who has already signed a letter of intent to play for Arizona University.

Alexander eloquently outlined “absolutely incredible” support the Trojans received in their race to last year’s title game, including “support from the main office of the system, which was very visible to our fans and community.”

G. B. Myles, new head coach at Class 2A Northeast Academy, was hopeful about last Friday’s road game at Hennessey, confessing to The City Sentinel that the Friday, September 9 contest with crosstown rival Northwest was already on his mind. He said the squad is responding to his pressure for excellence. He predicted a “fast team,” pointing to track champions now on the squad. The Vikings were 2-8 in Class 2A competition last year.

Capitol Hill’s Jason Webster inherits a team that went 1-9 in fierce Class 5A last year, but is hopeful for the new year. He thanked taxpayers for the bond issue that will yield dramatically better facilities at Speegle Stadium. After a Sept. 1 date with the Centennial Bison, Webster’s crew takes on U.S. Grant this Friday (Sept. 9).

Speaking of Grant, Coach Dan Burgess opened against Southeast, and this week He said his charges are “ready to start playing kids with different colored jerseys.” Burgess promised, “We will be more competitive, and let the score take care of itself.” Last year the Generals were winless in Class 6A.

Also discussing the new football season at a sports dinner provided by 1492 restaurant last week were James Harding (Star Spencer Bobcats, 1-9 in 3A in 2010), Michael Branch (Southeast Spartans, 3-7 last season in 5A), and Bruce Troxell (John Marshall Bears, 5-5 last year in 3A). One trend they and other city coaches reported was an increase in the number of players trying out for the team.

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