Lets look at the progress under Clayton last year:
-Inherited a roster that lost its whole offense to graduation
-The school record setting QB quits in the summer and their most athletic player with him
-Their best returning player at Running Back tears an ACL in the preseason
-Starts out 1-6. The 6th loss against Logan County on a last second TD and then the next day they lose a player to a tragedy
-Win 5 straight games after that loss
-They get past the 2nd round, and blowout the Logan team that gave them their last loss. Getting to the 2nd round where the previous coach with better talent lost both years.
-Go up 20 to nothing on Franklin-Simpson and then the lights go out and they give up 35 unanswered. FS went on to win the state title.
Now this year, his team now has a full year under his system and are returning quite a bit of talent. Their weak spot last year was the running game and the ability to control the clock, their running back Dillard is back and will be a force. They got a transfer wideout from CCHS who looks to put up big numbers.
Jay Bland at QB is a name to watch. He will put up some big numbers. Craig Clayton is among the top coaches in the state and he needs a state title to cement his legacy as an elite coach. When he left, Hoptown was up there with the big teams in the state(not just WKY) and I think he is showing that he is back and just as good.
I see Hoptown rolling through most of their schedule. They start the year with South Warren and Mayfield. After that, I see them rolling to 10 straight wins until they will face Franklin Simpson in the region title. 8-2 or 9-1 seems reasonable for the regular season.
Franklin Simpson vs. Hoptown in the region title is something you all should book happening. I do not know who is hosting, but it will be a heavyweight fight. Hoptown will be much more formidable judging by their rate of growth last season, but FS returns a lot from a state title team.