CHANDLER — Chandler and Stroud will kick off the Tri-County season Thursday night with a Lincoln County shootout at Stroud.

Jack Gray, Chandler’s second-year head coach, isn’t particularly fond of starting the season a full week ahead of many other squads.

“I really don’t like the Zero Week,” Gray said. “It’s just on you so fast. And it’s also a big rivalry game.”

Chandler, 5-5 overall last year, was picked to finish fourth in the District 2A-2 coaches’ poll.

District A-7 coaches selected Stroud at the top of the eight-team field.

Stroud finished 11-2 in 2018, largely due to quarterback Grant Elerick. The son of head coach Chris Elerick passed for 2,710 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2018. He also rushed for 306 yards, including five touchdowns.

“Their quarterback really tore us up throwing last year — flats, bubbles, quick outs, little stop routes. And he’s matured from last year, throwing more over the middle.

“Plus, his dad has had such a good system for a long times. He knows how to use his players.”

Sophomore Kaden Jones, who saw limited quarterback action for Chandler last season, wlll start under center tonight. Jones, a 150-pounder, played against Jones and Kellyville last year when starter Chabon Anderson was injured.

“Kaden is one of the fastest players on the team,” Gray said. ”His speed and arm strength have both doubled since last year.”

Chandler will lean heavily on tailback Dylan McKinney, who rushed for 1,095 yards on 197 carries in 2018.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.