CCS relying on new faces after first-ever OSSAA playoff berth
Community Christian is looking to become a perennial playoff contender. Fresh off a 6-5 campaign that earned the program their first-ever playoff berth since joining the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA), CCS will need to grow up quickly in order to grab back-to-back trips to the postseason.
That may be a tall order with only three returning seniors on their 2019 roster.
“We really feel like this is a real critical year for us and battling for a playoff spot is a reachable goal,” head coach Mat McIntosh said. “If we can compete at a level that we think we can get to, then we really feel like our program has turned the corner and that last year wasn’t a fluke.”
“The biggest thing for us is to keep that momentum and the key to that is getting our young guys to believe what we think about them. We think they’ve got the talent to step forward.”
CCS graduated two-year starting quarterback A.J. Ward and will replace him with either junior Gunnar Colvin (5’ 11, 175) or sophomore Kallen Montgomery (6’, 175). The two will be locked in a quarterback battle throughout fall camp and perhaps into the nondistrict portion of the schedule to see who will operate the Royals’ spread attack.
“They’re both athletic guys. Both have an opportunity to be two-way players for us,” McIntosh said. “If not at the quarterback position, they’ll both get on the field offensively.”
“They both have their strengths. Kallen will generally be a tad bit better of a runner at this point, but Gunnar can make good decisions. So, we are just trying to figure out which of those two can be the best combination.”
CCS generally works out of a one-back set, but the Royals have three options to put in the backfield. Sophomore Dylan Acton, (5’ 9, 175) junior Alex Hoselton (5’ 10, 190) and sophomore Boyce McIntosh (6’ 1, 200) will all carry the football.
The Royals’ receiving corps is stockpiled with talent and may be their best position group. McIntosh says it’s the team’s deepest position group. Jackson Bush (6’, 175) headlines the pass-catchers.
“We’ll have to figure out any and all ways to get him the football,” McIntosh said.
Other receivers to watch include junior Kooper Hartsock (5’ 10, 175) on the outside and junior Gage Williams (6’ 2, 190) and sophomore Isaiah Williams (5’ 9, 180) in the slot.
“Anytime we’ve gotten the ball in his hands in the spring and summer, Isaiah has just looked really good and we expect big things from him,” McIntosh said.
Although it’s not the Royals’ deepest unit, McIntosh feels his offensive line is a talented group. CCS returns three-year starter, senior Alex Laffin (6’ 220) at guard, junior Harry Shuman (6’ 2, 240) at tackle and is moving junior Josh Vordenbaum (5’ 11, 195) from guard to center. Sophomore Cody Rose (6’ 5, 265) also saw action last season.
“If we do have success this year, they’re going to lead the way for us,” McIntosh said.
Community Christian will once again work out of a 3-3-5 defense and McIntosh says he is excited about what the Royals have in the trenches.
Senior Matt Farabow (6’ 3, 230) is set to start on the defensive line and then a laundry list of other players will see time up front including Laffin, Rose and Shuman as two-way linemen. A pair of offensive skill guys, in Acton and Gage Williams, will also contribute up front.
“We think Acton will give people all kinds of trouble with his quickness,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh described his linebackers as his strongest unit defensively. They return Hoselton and Vordenbaum as well as McIntosh who led the team in tackles last year in his freshman season.
“Even though they’re young, there’s a lot of experience and productivity. They’ll just continue to develop,” McIntosh said.
In the secondary, it’s a complete overhaul as CCS will have five new faces. The Royals didn’t have to use Bush as a two-way player last season, but he will be called upon to play cornerback this year. To help the rebuild in the backfield, McIntosh was able to recruit junior Austin Remington (6’, 165) and sophomore Ashton Weber (6’, 170) out of the school hallways. Both are established basketball and soccer players but will be first-year players on the gridiron.
Remington was graded as the team’s “most impressive defensive guy” in the team’s 7-on-7 work this spring. The other safety positions will be occupied in some capacity by Colvin, Hartsock, Montgomery and Isaiah Williams. – BSM