By Andrew Glover
Stillwater News Press
MORRISON, Okla. —
In August, the Morrison Wildcats looked anything but a team that could make a run in the state playoffs — in fact, qualifying was a question, when it scrimmaged Tonkawa.
“They kicked our tails,” Bales said. “I was thinking we would be lucky to go 6-4.”
Bales would guide the team that struggled in its opening scrimmage to a district title and berth in the Class A state quarterfinals. Being able to have a team improve each week earned Bales the News Press Coach of the Year.
“It’s a tremendous accolade for the kids,” Bales said. “We lose our three-year starter at offensive and defensive line in Brent Coleman in Week 3. We battled through several different injuries through out the year. I was really proud of how the younger kids took on that role and played well.”
The Wildcats went 11-2 and won their first district title since 2007. Bales said the key to the team’s improvement was its defense which pitched three shutouts.
Morrison defeated Kiefer 32-6 to clinch a district title. In the first round of the playoffs, the Wildcats defeated Fairland 44-7 and then defeated Elmore City-Pernell in the second round of the playoffs, 24-0. Bales said he had a great group of seniors that will be tough to replace.
“You look at kids we are going to lose in Andrew Polasek, Justin Bearry, Scott VanDorn and Josh Hite, we have some big holes to replace,” Bales said. “That’s going to be our major focus area (this summer).”
Like any good coach, Bales is looking at the next chapter and what the Wildcats need to do to advance past the quarterfinals.
“We got to get better in the passing game to balance out what we do,” Bales said. “We came up against a group (in the quarterfinals) that shut down the run and our quarterback got hurt. We weren’t able to do a lot in the passing game.”