Top 10 Countdown: No. 6 Oak Grove

Oak Grove senior running back Eugene Newell Jr. (Photo by Chris Brooks)

Oak Grove is our pick for No. 6 in our preseason Top 10. Few teams have replaced talented players with new talented players better than Oak Grove the last few seasons. Each year a difference-making quarterback graduates, another steps in. Last year Damon Stewart stepped in for John Rhys Plumlee and accounted for 38 touchdowns. Kade Barnett is next in line and should be surrounded by another talented Warrior group of skill position players.

No. 6: Oak Grove Warriors

Head Coach: Drew Causey

2019 Record: 11-4 (Class 6A Runner-up)

Starters Returning: Offense: 6 Defense: 3

Players to Watch: QB Kade Barnett; WR Jordan Coleman; RB Eugene Newell; SS Quintin Sterling; DB Dontavious Howard; OL Donovan Allen; OL Klabron Pollard; OL Darrian King.

Coach Speak: “We’ve gotten hot at the right time and it’s carried us to the state championship game the last two seasons,” Causey said. “We’ve lost some really talented players the last two years and guys have stepped in and filled big shoes and this year will be no different. Kade Barnett will be our quarterback and has a big arm and is very talented. We feel really good about the offensive line and the running backs. Defensively we lost all our defensive line and linebackers, so we have to gain experience with new guys and get rolling in the right direction.”

Outlook: Oak Grove has rolled through each of the last two seasons and ended up playing for state championships. Will the third time be the charm for the Warriors to bring home that state championship trophy? The Warriors are breaking in new players at the skill position. Kade Barnett will be the new starting quarterback and will have playmakers to spread the ball around to in running back Eugene Newell and wide receiver Jordan Coleman (500 yards receiving, 7 touchdowns). The offensive line will have four starters back to help boost the running game. Defensively is where the Warriors took a hit as they lost the entire defensive line and linebackers to graduation, so there will be new faces in the entire front seven. Strong safety Quintin Sterling and defensive back Dontavious Howard will lead the secondary.

Season Opener: Sept. 4 vs. Gulfport.