By Kyle Dierking, for News9.com
MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- When you lose two top players to graduation and those two players sign with OU, the turnaround can be tough. Muskogee's Jameel Owens and Stacy McGee might be missing this season, but the Roughers are hardly roughing it.
"Players graduate, programs don't graduate," said Muskogee football coach Matt Hennesy. "We lost some really good players. We've got some really good players that have stepped up and have grown up in the program, been in the program for six years and now it's their time to step up."
Minus McGee, the Legion of Doom should still be dominant. The state's leading tackler Eric Howell returns along with Kansas State commit Robert Thomas manning the line.
"I'm not one to brag, but I don't think I can be blocked," Thomas said. "If it's me and you head up, you're not going to block me."
About the only place Muskogee's been blocked is appearing in the state title game. They've been in the state semi's three years running and now their sentiment is simple.
"We got to get over that hump," Hennesy said. "Semi-finals three years in a row, but we have to get over that hump and ready to get to the finals and go get that gold ball."
"Everything we do right now is to get over that hump," Thomas said. "That's the only thing we want is to get over that hump and get a state championship before we get out of here."
Being shut out of the state title game doesn't sit well with Hennesy.
"Ultimately the gold ball's the name of the game," Hennesy said. "It's time for us to go do it. I'm tired of hearing Jenks and Union doing it. It's time to let somebody else have it."