By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
An early highlight for Pioneer’s football program came at the state track championships.
Chase Courter, projected to replace the graduated Aaron Chain at running back, was third in the Class 2A 100 meters in 11.56 seconds.
Courter has added 20 pounds of muscle from last fall when he was showing some promise in junior varsity games.
“He’s a football player that runs track,’’ said Pioneer coach Kurt Myers. “He has really improved from last year. He cuts back well and has really good field vision. He’s a physical kid who doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s found another gear speed-wise. That’s pretty exciting.’’
The Mustangs went “pretty light’’ hitting-wise for their spring practices, instead concentrating on mental aspects.
“We did a lot of learning,’’ Myers said. “We worked a lot on our basic offensive and defensive alignments.’’
Myers said the Mustangs don’t plan “any wholesale changes,’’ but will have to adjust to personnel changes.
Pioneer has had two returning starters — quarterback Jett Jobe and lineman Eric Jones — move away.
“We just have to find somebody to step in,’’ Myers said. “That’s the way things go today. We have some question marks, but if we can get those solved, we’ll be OK.’’
Senior Colin Mason, a backup to Jobe last season and junior Austin Rogers, who played tight end and linebacker last season, are the top candidates. Rogers has recovered from a broken finger which sidelined him at the end of last season.
“They just need some reps right now,’’ Myers said. “They are feeling their way. We’ll have to see what happens over summer pride, and fall.’’
Mason and Rogers will get some reps at a 7-on-7 passing camp at Chisholm during June.
“We played there a couple of years ago and that really helped us out,’’ Myers said. “They can get some reps, go compete and get better.’’
However, Myers emphasized a 7-on-7 league isn’t the same as full contact 11-on-11.
“It makes a big difference when you don’t have guys rushing you,’’ Myers said. “It’s a lot easier to complete passes. All of this seven-on-seven stuff is a chance to work on routes and ball placement. You can look at lot of mental things.’’
While Jones will be missed, Myers said Pioneer still has some quality linemen returning such as seniors Charles Clardy and Dalton Snow.
“Charles Clardy is pretty physically gifted,’’ he said. “We’re excited about Dalton Snow’s work ethic. He keeps on improving.’’
Senior Blake Gabriel is seen as an impact player as both a defensive back and a wide receiver.
“He’s a big-time playmaker,’’ Myers said. “Anytime you have a Blake Gabriel on the field, you know you have someone with intelligence and athleticism.’’
The Mustangs start their summer pride weightlifting at 7:30 a.m Monday through Thursdays beginning the first week of June and running through the end of July.
“When you have it that early, you will find out who wants to work,’’ Myers said.
Pioneer won’t be going to a team camp, but is planning to have its own position camp.
“We’ll do everything within OSSAA guidelines,’’ Myers said.
Myers anticipates having 30 to 35 out for the off-season. He reports no serious injuries.