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El Reno eager to prove worth in challenging district with new coach

The Indians' coach likes the progress made by his players since spring practice.

By Glen Brockenbush | Photo courtesy of the El Reno Tribune

Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oklahoma will break down high school football teams from the four largest classifications in the state in anticipation of the upcoming 2022 season. Here's our look at the El Reno Indians. 

HEAD COACH

Russell Cook, first season (0-0) 

RETURNING STARTERS

3 offense, 4 defense

2021 AT A GLANCE

Overall record: 4-6

District record: 4-3, 4th in District 5A-1 

Playoffs: Lost to Midwest City Carl Albert in first round, 42-7

PLAYERS TO WATCH

RB/LB Malachi Nicholson, 5-10, 185, Jr.

An explosive athlete who erupted onto the scene as a sophomore, rushing for 647 yards and eight touchdowns at a clip of 19 yards a carry. The Indians will operate out of a shotgun most of the time, but will try to get the ball in Nicholson’s hands as often as possible.

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WR/CB Devonne Smith, 5-9, 145, Sr.

Much like Nicholson, when you get the ball in Smith's hands, good things happen. Only had 130 receiving yards last season, but accounted for four touchdown catches. Has great leaping ability that allows him to play much bigger than his size. Will make a big impact in the return game as well.

WR/QB/DB Evan RomanNose, 6-3, 180, Sr.

Played at quarterback for much of 2021, but will move all over the field and do whatever the Indians need him to do. A great athlete who can do a little bit of everything.

QB Cooper Park, 6-1, 190, Jr.

He went through some growing pains as a sophomore, just as any young quarterback does. But Park also displayed a strong throwing arm and excellent touch on the deep ball. Will be one to keep an eye on in the years to come.

DT Nate Karty, 6-0, 200, Sr.

Athletic enough to play linebacker, but with El Reno lacking size on the defensive front, will likely play on the line. Reads the backfield very well.