Cushing and Perry are both coming off contests against their biggest rival.

4A CHS topped 3A Bristow, 34-20, on the road in Week 1, while 2A Perry dropped a 50-9 contest at home against 3A Blackwell. Now they face each other in a game that is an area rivalry, but certainly not as emotional as what each went through last week.

Cushing coach Lance Hoggatt said it “turned up the heat on the rivalry” when Kyle Fry coached the Maroons two years ago. Fry, a Perry native, had been an assistant in Cushing the previous five seasons. He was at PHS one year before heading to Bristow prior to last season.

“Our kids look forward to a chance to play them,” Hoggatt said.

For Perry, which has lost 11 straight games, the focus is not on any sort of a rivalry.

“Now it’s just a matter of us getting through healthy,” said PHS coach Jeremy Reeder. “They are 4A and we’re 2A. They have some real athletes on that team. They have kids who can play. They are good, quality-coached kids.

“For a team like us, any game is big right now. We’re trying to get ‘W’s.’ We can get up to play for that.”

Reeder added, “It’s fun to coach against them, because they are good people, but it’s not Perry/Blackwell.”

Hoggatt underscored that the rivalry is not to the level of some others when he was asked if it had a name, such as the “Battle of Highway 33” moniker that is used for Cushing/Perkins-Tryon.

“The name of it is next,” Hoggatt said. “It’s a cliché, but that’s just the way we approach things right now.”

There appears to be plenty of mutual respect. Hoggatt called PHS quarterback David Collins “a good athlete” who “throws a decent ball and runs well.” He said Perry’s spread attack was a good system for its talent, and he said receiver Tylor West would “make a lot of plays.”

West scored the Maroons’ only touchdown last week on a 62-yard punt return and he caught six passes for 33 yards. Reeder praised CHS’s Barrett Ahrberg as “a good smart quarterback — big kid with a strong arm.” Ahrberg completed 7-of-12 passes for 134 yards and three scores last week.

He called tailback Dwayne Vaughn “an absolute stud.” Vaughn had 21 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown.

He added, “Their tight end makes plays. Their receivers make plays. The fullback is quick and hit’s the hole hard. They know what they are doing and they do it well. Their team speed, there is no way to simulate that.”

Also, he said middle linebacker Clifton Miles, who recorded 10 stops last week, may be the best linebacker Perry faces all season.

Cushing won last year’s matchup 35-14 in Perry.

Pawnee visits Barnsdall

Pawnee plays in the nine-team District A-5, so the Black Bears get only two non-district games each year.

It opened with a 19-7 win against 2A Pawhuska last week, and it visits the Stillwater junior varsity on Oct. 4, so it begins district play this week at Barnsdall.

“You’d like to use those first three games to make sure everyone is in the right place and you have the right schemes,” said PHS coach David Ellis. “We’re not afforded that this year. We’ll be less afforded that the next two years when we’re in a nine-team district. Then our Game 2 and Game 3 will be Hominy and Tonkawa.”

The Black Bears are clearly the favorite this week. Barnsdall opened with a 21-7 loss to Caney Valley after going 2-8 last year. In the 2006 matchup, Pawnee won 49-13.

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