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No. 7: Oxford Chargers

Head Coach: Chris Cutcliffe

2021 Record: 8-5 (Class 6A Second Round)

Starters Returning: Offense: 8 Defense: 5

Players to Watch: QB Mack Howard; RB Roman Gregory; TE Jack Harper; LB Alex Sanford; DE Malaki Pegues; LB Martavis Blackmon; DB Ryan Kirkwood; K William Wilkinson.

Coach Speak: “Our motivation is to reach our fullest potential as a team.  We focus on continuous improvement and taking every opportunity we must get better. Our coaching staff and team have had an excellent offseason. I’ve been proud of our leadership. Mack has done an outstanding job jumping in and going to work in our program.  He’s caught on to our offense quickly and has been impressive as a leader.  Our expectations for Mack are to be a phenomenal teammate and to reach his full potential as a player.  We’re excited about a significant number of returning players who have been through tough games in the best region in the state of Mississippi. We’ve got some key players back on defense and we’re excited to see some new faces step in and show what they can do.  We play in the best region in Mississippi football.  Every year there will be multiple deserving teams left home from the playoffs.  There’s no question that playing this schedule prepares you for playoff football,” Cutcliffe said.

Outlook: After reaching the Class 6A state title game the previous two seasons the Chargers went 8-5 in 2021 and reached the second round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs. Offensively, the Chargers have eight starters returning, however got a big boost in the offseason as three-star quarterback and Utah commit Mack Howard transferred from Heritage Academy. Last season Howard tossed for 3,475 yards with 47 touchdowns and added six rushing touchdowns as he helped lead the Patriots to the MAIS Class 5A state championship. Also back is running back Roman Gregory, who had 1,042 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns last year, to lead the ground game. Tight end Jack Harper (five receiving touchdowns in 2021) is the top receiver returning for the Chargers. Defensively, Oxford has just five starters back, but the big playmaker returning is three-star linebacker and Arkansas commit Alex Sanford (120 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 block punts in 2021) to lead the defense. Defensive end Malaki Pegues and linebacker Martavis Blackmon also return to help lead the front seven. Defensive back Ryan Kirkwood returns to anchor the secondary.

Season Opener: Aug. 26 at Brandon.