There are more than bragging rights on the line as Coweta hosts Wagoner in perhaps the top game in the state. This Wagoner County rivalry dates back to the 1920’s and the competition has always been fierce between Coweta and Wagoner. Both have something to prove in Friday night’s contest on the Tigers home turf.
Following Coweta’s 38-10 loss to defending 5A champion Carl Albert on Zero-week, Tim Harper’s team will meet the defending 4A state champion Wagoner with a game plan of making it two straight wins over the Bulldogs after last year’s 9-7 victory over their county rivals. While the outcome will give both teams an early season measuring stick for the 2023 season, who wins is important for the two squads that both have plenty of talent on the field.
Coweta will attack Wagoner’s aggressive defensive unit led by defensive end Alex Shieldnight (6-4, 235, Jr.) and linebacker Keyton Cole (6-0, 185, Sr.), who scored the Bulldogs only points on a fumble return in last year’s matchup. The Tigers will need to win the line of scrimmage battles with physical play from Dalton DeWeese (6-2, 250, Sr.) and Hunter DeHues (6-1, 235, Jr.)
to open lanes for running back LoLo Bell (5-9, 150, Sr.) to move the chains on the ground and protect quarterback Noah Cooper (6-2, 205, Sr.) from the Wagoner pass rush. The Bulldogs defense, that strangled its opponent last year by allowing just 8.4 points per contest on way to winning the state championship, returns eight starters that also includes safety Witt Edwards (6-6, 205, Sr.) and cornerbacks Shaun Atkins (6-0, 170, Sr.) and Matson Swanson (5-10, 160, Jr.).
Wagoner must prove they can put points on the board after only scoring one time in their first two scrimmages. Quarterback Kale Charboneau (6-0, 215, Jr.) who doubles as a headhunting linebacker, must pick up where he finished last season where he totaled 2082 yards and 18 touchdowns a year ago. Who else will chew up yards rushing will be a question mark in the season opener against the Coweta defense
anchored by six starters including Deacon Peterson (6-2, 260, Sr.) a state finalist wrestler at heavyweight, joined by nose guard Justin Robinson (6-0, 300, Sr.), linebacker Luke Maledon (5-11, 190, Sr.) and cornerback Taylor Sowers (5-11, 185, Sr.).
Will Coweta bounce back and will Wagoner pick up the same way they finished last December in their 2023 season opener? My guess is that both teams will have some surprises for their county rival, not only with personnel but also in play choices.
What do I expect for the final score and who wins? Wagoner proves to be defensively strong again with enough offense generated by Charboneau and company. WAGONER 17 COWETA 7
Am I right or wrong? What’s your opinion? Share thoughts with me on Twitter @vypesportsguy and on Facebook at VYPE Three Rivers.