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Durant Lions 2023 Football Team Preview – Presented by Simmons Bank





There’s a loud roar coming out of the Lions den this fall as Todd Vargas begins his third season as head coach This year’s lineup will boast size plus speed as the right combination for success on the offensive side of the football. There’s plenty of beef on the offensive front line anchored by Carson Allivand (6-0, 265, Sr.) along with VYPE Top 100 choice Tucker Dry (6-5, 275, Sr.) joining forces with Grant Bull (6-2, 220, So.). Among the returning skill players, Jaylon Saxon (5-11, 160, Sr.) returns at quarterback to direct the Lions version of the wing-T offense with Cole Robbins (6-0, 180, So.) and Stephen Manhard (5-9, 160, So.) in the backfield and sure handed receivers Kaydon Mimms (6-2, 170, Sr.), Ryder Jones (6-0,160, Jr.) and Shajen Davis (5-9, 160, So.) ready to stretch the field. “Our philosophy has always been to run the ball and control the clock. This season we also have the personnel that have the ability to create some explosive plays,” Vargas said. “It’s a new system that matches the skills of this year’s skill players.”  

Xadavien Sims
Xadavien Sims


There’s just as much excitement on the defensive size of the football as eight players return to their starting position in 2023. “The 3-3-stack is a high pressure defense that allows our playmakers to attack and create big plays,” said Vargas. “This group runs to the football with a high motor intent to make a big play.” Two-time VYPE Top 100 selection Xadavien Sims (6-4, 275, Sr.) who after receiving 22 scholarship offers has already committed to the University of Oregon Ducks, will require double team assignments from the Durant opposition as Sims will lineup at multiple positions on the defensive line alongside Dayton Madrid (5-11, 265, Sr.). Also nominated for the VYPE Top 100 choices Colton Yarbrough (6-5, 220, So.) has the size, strength and agility to protect the edge from the outside linebacker position along with Jayden Rangel (6-2, 220, So.) while Mason Bacu (6-2, 220, Jr.) will fill the gap from the inside linebacker position with help from Jaxon Cuesta (.5-10, 215, So.) Vargas is confident the Lions secondary has the quickness and aggressiveness to create game changing plays led by Ryder Jones (6-0, 180, Jr.) at cornerback and strengthened by the efforts of Cole Robbins, Shajen Davis, Stephen Manhard and Holden Robinson (6-0, 160, So.). “This year’s team is one of the most athletic lineup to wear the Durant jersey in a long time,” Vargas said with confidence. “We feel like the things that we do on both sides of the ball will put our kids in the best position to have a lot of success.”

Tucker Dry
Tucker Dry


8-25 – vs. Ada

9-1 – at Broken Bow

9-8 – vs. Rogers

9-22 – at Sapulpa

9-29 – vs. Glenpool

10-6 – at Tulsa East Central

10-12 – vs. Coweta

10-19 – at McAlester

10-27 – vs. Tulsa Memorial

11-2 – at Del City

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