The Guthrie BlueJay football squad begins their five-day spring practices today with a three-day camp for the Junior Jays to follow next week.
Head Coach Rafe Watkins Jays are coming off an 8-5 season that witness two huge playoff wins on the road before falling in the state semi-finals in the closing seconds despite starting the season 0-2.
Watkins gets set to begin his 10th season as the Jays head man and is the all time winningest coach in Guthrie history with an 84-26 (76%) record. The five losses a season ago was the most under Watkins, but it was also the fourth team to reach the state semi finals in his nine seasons.
As is every year, Guthrie must fill some holes with graduating seniors, but will have a solid core back for another run for the 2-time state champions. Expectations will be the same has it was last decade: playoffs and run at the state title.
Kentrell Brothers enters his final season as a force for both the Guthrie offense and defense. Last season, Brothers earned second team All-State and All-Big City honors with 95 tackles, 17 sacks, four interceptions, and a fumble recovery. On offense he had 62 catches for 1,122 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brothers, who has 11 scholarship offers to Division I schools, was the first Guthrie player ever to collect over 1,000 yards receiving.
Returning back to the quarterback spot is Bryan Dutton, who was baptized by fire as a freshmen. However, Dutton responded by being named to The Oklahoman’s All City honorable mention as a freshmen. He was named the starting quarterback just before the first game of the season.
Dutton finished with 2,535 all-purpose yards, including 2,101 passing yards and 26 passing scores. Dutton had numbers that rivaled many upperclassmen in the state and appears to be headed for more post season honors in upcoming seasons.
Dutton, who saw multiple offensive linemen shuffled around will work with a group that saw four sophomores get playing time. Anchoring the line will be Blake Belcher. Belcher, Hayden Seifert, Ricky Ware, and Bryce Sullivan commanded the line in the playoffs.
Guthrie returns Derreck Kelly, who had a great semi-final game against a tough-minded Bixby defense. Kelly will look for help in the running department and may get it from Alphonso Wilcots and Luke Davis. Regardless, Guthrie will have to improve the running game from a season ago.
On the defense side, Landry Chappell returns after piling up 177 tackles that ranked him seventh in the entire state. Chappell came on as a freshmen and played an important role, but his role was majorly increased last season.
Davis finished with 112 tackles and no telling how many of those were open field tackles. Davis also played as a freshmen, will have a chance to finish his career with maybe close to 400 tackles.
John Clark was a valuable player a season ago by being able to play multiple positions and Felix Scott will be important player on the defensive line.
The Jays will have to fill some holes left in the middle of the defensive line and secondary, but will have a few options to work with.
Guthrie will work out today thru Friday and will host the 10th Annual Junior Jays Camp next Monday (May 24th), Tuesday, and Wednesday.