By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK -- It's a formula critical to any team's success. Gelling, clicking, and being on the same page - otherwise known as team chemistry. It's something the East Central Cardinals seriously lacked last season.
"We've felt like we've had that in years past. For whatever reason - there's a variety of reasons - we didn't have that chemistry," said East Central head coach Travis Hill.
The Cards had an uncharacteristic first round playoff exit and its streak of six straight district titles was snapped. Settling on a quarterback was also a problem. Dillon Wallace and Keith Ross were battling for the job well into the '08 season.
"It felt like we were always chasing something, like me and (Ross)," Wallace said. "We never had it set - he'd get a few reps, I'd get a few reps. He'd move to wide receiver, I'd stay at quarterback. It seemed like we were chasing the real team instead of setting a foundation and building from there."
They've gone from being adversaries to allies. Wallace emerged as the starting quarterback, while Ross moved to wide receiver.
"At first he was like a rival because we were both competing for the same position but in the end I think he likes playing wide receiver a lot better," Wallace said. "He knows I'm a good quarterback and I'll give him the ball when he's open."
"At first I was the starter then when somebody comes in and gives me competition, it was kind of stressful," Ross said. "I think it's best for (Wallace) to be starting quarterback and me move to receiver."
Now East Central can focus on more important things: a district title and a playoff push.
"We both know where it comes from to be a quarterback and the stress it brings to you," Ross said. "I feel like if a quarterback and receiver have a great bond, then they can do great on the field together."
THE DUO'S COLLEGE DESTINATION
Wallace says that Colorado State, Michigan, Michigan State, Tulsa and Texas Tech have visited East Central. So far, staying in the Sooner State seems to be his choice.
"I like Tulsa a lot, I always have," Wallace said. "I'd love to go to TU, OSU, some place around here."
Ross has an offer from Tennessee. Houston and Oregon are also showing interest. He has visited his uncle in Houston several times and likes the university's campus.
"Right now I'm looking into (Houston)," Ross said. "I feel like I can do well in Conference USA as far as a player."
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