Others say they expected to have fared better.
Perhaps the most pleased coach is Creekview’s Al Morrell.
After last year’s 5-5 season, in which they missed the playoffs, the Grizzlies are currently 4-1 overall and 1-0 in Region 7AAAAA (A), and hold wins over Cherokee and archrival Sequoyah.
Creekview’s 4-1 record is also the best among the county’s six teams.
“Right now, we’re pretty close to playing how I expected we would at the beginning of the year,” Morrell said. “We knew that there would be some pivotal games, such as against Cherokee and Sequoyah, and that if we won most of those, we would be pretty successful.”
When asked what aspect of his team he felt had surpassed his expectations, Morrell pointed to his defense.
“I’m very pleased with the success that our defense has had this year,” he said. “Even though we had a lot of returning starters, we were jumping up a classification and didn’t really know what kind of teams we were going to be playing, so we weren’t sure about how our defense would turn out.”
According to Morrell, Creekview’s greatest challenge has come not from an opponent, but from the nagging injuries that have been plaguing his team.
“Just getting our kids on the field and keeping them injury-free has been our biggest challenge at this point,” Morrell said.
For other coaches in the county, results so far have been mixed.
Though Sequoyah coach James Teter is happy with the way his team had performed so far, he did admit that the Chiefs’ 2-3 record was surprising.
“I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed in the way we’ve played so far this year, but I would say that I expected us to have a better record at this point,” Teter said. “We’ve been progressing at a great rate — just a few mistakes cost us a couple of wins.”
One of the bright spots for Teter and the Chiefs this year has been running back Blake Ingleton, who is nearing 1,000 rushing yards for the season after just five games.
“We kind of expected Blake to perform well, as he rushed for around 1,200 yards last year,” Teter said. “We thought he’d be back on pace for 1,000 this season. I had no idea that he be close to that only halfway through the year.”
Sitting at 1-5, and at the bottom of the county record-wise, is Cherokee, which has come as a letdown for first year coach Josh Shaw.
“I don’t want to say that our first six results were disappointing, but we had higher expectations than being 1-5 right now,” Shaw said. “We knew that we would get the meat of our schedule early with teams like Walton and Lassiter, but we still thought we would be better off.”
Shaw chalked the Warriors’ struggles up to their youth and lack of physical presence on the offensive side of the ball.
“We are starting five sophomores on offense, so not only are we extremely young, but we haven’t been physical enough to move people out of the way and block on the perimeters with our receivers,” Shaw said. “We have really been struggling from a physical stand point.”