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Mayes County Area

Salina Wildcats 2023 Football Team Preview – Presented by Hooker’s Sports Grill

SALINA WILDCATS

Coach: CLAYTON SAIZ

5-5

OFFENSE

The Wildcats enter the 2023 season ready to build off of what they were able to achieve last season. Clayton Saiz is beginning his second season leading the program and says that he is looking forward to seeing what his team can accomplish. “We are excited for year two,” he said. “We have started to get things established here culturally and in the way we do things. We have some solid returning pieces and will need some young guys to step up but I am excited to build on some of the success we had last season.” One of the returning players back is quarterback Conner Johnson (6-1, 185, Sr.). Last season, he threw for 1,843 yards and 18 touchdowns and also rushed for 437 yards and six scores. Two targets that Johnson will look to get the ball to are wide receivers Teagen Byrd (5-8, 170, Jr.) and Micah Richards (6-1, 155, Jr.), who combined for 639 yards and six touchdowns last season. Tight end Maverick Williamson (6-5, 255, Sr.) averaged 7.7 yards per reception last season and will work to continue to make an impact this season. On the offensive line, center Payton House (5-9, 215, Sr.) and tackle Jax Kiener (6-1, 215, Jr.) have 30-plus starts between them and they will use that experience to their advantage.

DEFENSE

The Eagles’ defense brings back experience to the defensive line. House at nose guard, Williamson at defensive end, and Tyler Strickland (5-7, 190, Sr.) accumulated 66 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and five sacks. Kiener had 12 tackles, one interception, and a defensive touchdown at linebacker last year and he will be back there this year. In the secondary, Eli Swarer (5-11, 155, So.) and Byrd will work to keep their opponents from reaching the end zone. Last season, they totaled 87 tackles, four pass breakups, and two interceptions.

SCHEDULE

8-25 – vs. Quapaw

8-31 – at Locust Grove

9-8 – at Chouteau

9-22 – vs. Rejoice Christian

9-29 – at Adair

10-6 – vs. Claremore Sequoyah

10-12 – at Pawhuska

10-20 – vs. Caney Valley

10-27 – at Nowata

11-3 – vs. Vinita

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