Coming Up: Including the matchup of top ranked teams, Muskogee and Carl Albert, local teams still search for answers before district play begins in two weeks.
Photo by K. Henry Sports Photography
DID MUSKOGEE FIND ANSWERS OR MORE QUESTIONS IN LOSS TO CARL ALBERT?
The much-anticipated showdown between Muskogee and Carl Albert produced a huge crowd and the Titans 43-20 win at Rougher Village gave the Roughers another report card that provided some answers while some questions remain.
1. “3 AND OUTS”
Muskogee’s run defense was up to the challenge of championship level talent by containing Carl Albert standout Xavier Robinson and the Titans ground game to a combined 132 yards on 36 attempts. At the same time, Friday’s outcome showed the Roughers vulnerability in pass coverage as the Titans used the skill of quarterback Kevin Sperry and talented receivers Trystan Haynes and Trey Washington with a combination of slip screens, slants and turn-in routes to generate 301 yards for three scores as well as extending possessions on third down conversions to keep scoring drives alive.
“We played Rougher defense on first and second downs but gave up too many yards on third down,” said head coach Travis Hill. “We couldn’t make a stop when we needed to. You can’t do that and give championship level opponents extended possessions.”
2. GROUND GAME?
Once again the Roughers offense found success through the air with 252 yards passing as quarterback Jamarian Ficklin (pictured above) completed 14-22 attempts including some highlight reel moments on throws to wide receiver Kayden McGee, who had four catches for 115 yards. Meanwhile, the Roughers ground game, playing without LaTavion Johnson because of injury, had limited success between the tackles. Ondraye Beasley’s speed continues to give the Roughers “big play” results on end around efforts while Ficklin managed to scramble to extend plays for 55 yards on the ground. Muskogee totaled 134 yards rushing against the Titans in the loss.
The Roughers continue to produce big play moments on both sides of the football but to achieve their desired goal of winning a gold ball, the Roughers must expect to find a way to be consistent in their efforts on every snap.
“Offensively, defensively and special teams, we have to find a way to be more consistent if we’re going to be a great football team,” said Hill. “We’ll learn from this and find a way. I’m confident our kids will respond, go to back to work and become the team we expect to be.”
The Roughers (2-1) have a week off to bounce back mentally before beginning district play in two weeks at home against Sand Springs.
HORNETS STILL FINDING ANSWERS
Sophomore Brady Scott (pictured above) had a big game for the Hornets as they posted 48-6 verdict over Tulsa Hale for their second straight win over a Tulsa Public Schools opponent. In the first half Scott had a punt return for a touchdown that was called back on a penalty but then returned the second half kickoff 96 yards for a score. Scott also had three receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Big senior lineman Cash Schiller also had a good night with his foot toeing through a pair of field goals including a 51-yard three point score.
“I was really pleased with the progress we’re making with a young team on offense,” said head coach David Blevins. “The defense has played well in our first two games with a lot of swarming to the ball. On offense, an area we really want to see improvement in is our offensive line play.”
Things will get considerably more challenging this week for the Hornets (2-0) as they host Claremore.
“They beat us last year and have 16 returning starters from that team and they’ll probably be in the top five in the Class 5A rankings this week, so we’ll have our hands full that’s for sure,” said Blevins.
BULLDOGS DOMINANT AGAIN
Wagoner, defending state champion and ranked number one in Class 4A in 2023, took their opening possession and drove 65 yards for a score to jump out to the early lead en route to their 10th straight victory with a 34-13 win on the road at Tahlequah. Quarterback Kale Charboneau (pictured above) turned in a stellar performance on both sides of the ball passing for 123 yards and rushing for another 96 to lead the offense while recording 11 tackles on defense. Defensive back Anthony Coleman picked up his second interception in as many games.
“We gave up some plays early on and I think there was some emotional letdown by our guys after putting so much into our season opening grudge match with Coweta,” said Wagoner coach Dale Condict. “There are areas we want to work on improving. On offense we had too many penalties and some assignment breakdowns we need to fix. The defense played well but gave up some third and fourth-and-long plays and special teams gave up a kick return score against Coweta and fell for a fake punt against Tahlequah.”
Payback will be on the minds of the Bulldogs (2-0) this week as they host Grove in the home opener for the ‘Dogs after losing late to the Ridgerunners last year 28-20.
PIRATES STAY ON COURSE
In a blue-collar style matchup, Poteau flexed their muscles in a 24-7 win over Metro Christian. The third-ranked Pirates got some revenge for a home loss last year to the Patriots as they got outstanding play from their defense according to head coach Greg Werner.
“It was a great game with a huge crowd and exciting atmosphere. I was really pleased with our defense. Anytime you can hold Metro to seven points, you’ve climbed a mountain. They crowded the box on us, so we had to throw more than usual. We had 125 yards passing which is like any other team having 700 yards passing in a game. But we had some success with it and that helped open up the running game. I think we’re getting better each week and we’re adapting well to the loss of our starting running back Jackson Sommers who suffered a broken collar bone in our last scrimmage.”
The Pirates (2-0) will have their final tune up before the start of district play this week as they host Chandler.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES GROUND THE EAGLES
Central Sallisaw made the most of its chances while denying Warner opportunities to cash in as the Tigers claimed a 14-0 win over the Eagles in what proved to be a defensive struggle with a scoreless contest at halftime. The Eagles (1-1) fumbled in their end of the field early in the second half giving the Tigers a short field and they took it in for the score. But Warner had its chances on offense as well according to first year head coach Carter Bradley.
“We had three red zone chances that we couldn’t finish but I think part of that is still adjusting to a new system and making some mistakes. I think once we can correct some of that and sharpen our execution, we’ll be fine.” The Eagles will host Chouteau-Mazie this Friday in their final non-district encounter.