PRAGUE – Mike Hedge got the itch and had to scratch.
For 14 years, including 10 as the head coach, Hedge prowled the Meeker sidelines.
In his last Bulldog edition, 2013, Hedge went 12-1 with the only loss coming to Millwood in the third round of the playoffs.
“It took me about a year to watch that film,” Hedge said.
Now, following a six-year stint as an education administrator, Hedge is back in Lincoln County coaching football.
Only this time, he will be 12 miles to the east as Prague’s head coach.
“I got the itch last spring. My wife (Schatzi) and I wanted to know where God wanted us to go and it was Prague. My wife’s family is from Prague and my son is going into the eighth grade. I always wanted to coach him,” Hedge said.
Considering last year’s District 2A-2 preseason coaches poll, Prague’s 5-5, no-playoff result was a big disappointment. Prague had been picked to finish third in the eight-team district.
When John Graham resigned his Red Devil post to coach at Muskogee, Hedge jumped at the opportunity.
He is switching to a Wing-T offense with his two primary quarterbacks, senior Trevor Mills, last year’s starter, and freshman Trevor McGinnis.
“He (Mills) was asked to do some things in last year’s offense he wasn’t comfortable doing,” Hedge said. “He is very athletic and competitive. I think our system, which will be wide open, will help him.”
McGuinness, as a ninth grader, is 6-foot-0, 185 pounds. “He is ready, physically, to play right now,” Hedge said. “Both players are good runners and adequate passers. They aren’t pocket passers.”
Senior Branom Bailey heads the running back corps. “Branom has some really good wheels,” Hedge said. “He is a good Wing-T player.”
Hedge is also high on junior running back Tyler Carpenter. “Tyler’s about a buck 129 pounds, soaking wet,” Hedge said. “I’m not easily impressed by speed but he impressed me.”
Sophomore Trip Davis, who could be called on to play running back, wide receiver and cornerback, muscled up 17 pounds over the summer.
“He’s one of those kids who can just do things,” Hedge said. “He could be good at chess if he really wanted to.”
Also drawing praise from Hedge were tackle Conner Davis, center Alex Tapia and linebacker Brayden Davis.
“We will be really young,” Hedge said. “Over the next two years, we just graduate a combined five kids. Not many of our players can drive yet.”
The Red Devils will launch the 2019 season Friday, Sept. 6 at Cashion.
• Hedge started his prep coaching career at Luther before serving two years as Depew’s main man. He then returned to Luther as a defensive coordinator before going to Meeker.
• Hedge’s coaching staff is comprised of Tony Willoughby, secondary/quarterback/receivers; AJ. Woodall, defensive line/running back; Lance Blocker, linebacker/receivers; Wally Newport, offensive line/defensive line.