The Pryor Times


May 29, 2014

Wildcats filling gaps in spring drills

CHOUTEAU, OK — After posting a 4-6 record in the 2013 campaign, Chouteau head football coach Mark Jones is using his spring practice sessions to get back to basics.

After losing key cogs Brock Couch, Austin Hershberger and Doug Mynahan to graduation, Jones is looking to some old staples — and some new faces — to capitalize on Chouteau's best football season in a decade.

Robert Evans has emerged this spring as one of Jones' best talents. During Wednesday's practice, Evans stepped into the quarterback role, Cowboy Collar and all.

"Robert is probably our best all-around guy right now," Jones said. "He's seeing time at fullback, wideout some, and even backup quarterback."

Jones will more likley utilize a fresh face under center, CJ Hunter.

"He hadn't played in a few years," Jones said. "We're pretty pleased with him in these spring practices, though. He's a lot like Garrett [Grossman], quick, shifty."

Grossman was one of the Wildcats' top running backs in 2013, and Jones thinks the spring workouts have shown he's only improved.

"We expect big things from him. He's gotten a lot bigger and a lot faster."

Jones returns District 2A-7 Offensive Lineman of the Year Payne King to anchor the line at center. He'll have company in 6-foot-2, 260-pound Ben Cowan, who adds about 100 pounds to the line with the departure of Couch.

"Ben Cowan is a guy I think is going to step up for us," Jones said. "He's gotten into powerlifting this offseason, and I think he's really going to come into his own."

Mandatory weight-room sessions will begin soon for the Wildcats after they wrap up their spring practices with a team camp at Cushing today and Friday.

"It's a good team-building opportunity in the spring," Jones said. "We use it to build relationships and start the leadership process.

"Right now, we're installing our offense and getting our offensive schemes together and setting the tone for the summer."

Chouteau won its first district game in seven years in 2013, but 2A-7 is much stronger in 2014 than it was last year. Nowata leaves, but 2A-8 transplants Kansas, Colcord and Salina will all be angling for playoff spots along with defending champion Adair.

"Their main goal is they want to make the playoffs," Jones said "Realistically, if we could sneak into that third or fourth spot they'd be extremely happy, and that would be a really successful season."

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