MIDWEST CITY – The Midwest City Bombers cruised through an undefeated regular season last year, but suffered a surprising upset in the first round of the playoffs in a 14-13 loss to Westmoore.
Head coach Steve Huff admitted that his team grew complacent at the end of last season, but he is using the experience as a motivating tool. And with much of the Bombers' key strength returning this season, they are a common pick to repeat as district champions.
Midwest City's most important returning starter is running back James Flanders, who rushed for more than 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior last season. Huff said he is pleased to have Flanders back because of what he brings both on and off the field.
"It's nice in more ways than one," Huff said. "The people who know James and know his personality know why it's nice to have him back in that way. Obviously his athletic ability is nice to have back, too."
The Bombers will need to rely on his running ability, since they will be introducing a new starting quarterback after the graduation of Greg Austin. Austin finished last season with more than 1,700 passing yards, and Joel Davis and Ronnie Davis are fighting to replace him.
Ronnie Davis also will help anchor the Bombers' defense, which was downright dominant at times last year. Midwest City recorded three shutouts in the span of four games and allowed an average of only 11 points per game in district play.
That unit should remain a strength, with six full-time starters returning. Among those starters is linebacker Zeke Lewis, who led the team with 154 tackles last season.
The Bombers will begin their season on Sep. 2 against Del City, a team they crushed 35-13 in their season opener last year.