The season may still be a month from completion, but this week could see a lot of area high school football teams set themselves as front-runners in the district races.
In a battle of district leaders, Coyle (5-0, 3-0) travels to play Deer Creek-Lamont (4-2, 4-0) for a 7:30 p.m. Thursday matchup, while Perry (4-2, 2-0) will play host to Hennessey (5-1, 3-0) at the same time.
“The further you go, the more wins you have, things start to get a little tougher,” Coyle coach Shane Weathers said. “We have four games here that are pretty tough here in district and this is one of them. We match up well with them.”
The marquee matchups come during fall break, which means the teams have one less day to prepare in the battle of district unbeatens – something both coaches know is just how it goes each year, but still wish they had that extra day this week.
“It would have been nice, but we’re going to deal with the hand we’re dealt,” Perry coach Cameron Bennett said. “Hopefully we can just get the job done. We’re going to prepare like we would for any other team, that’s how you have to do it.”
While Weathers’ Bluejackets won’t get a full week to prepare, they are coming off the high of beating district power Covington-Douglas 76-32.
The marquee win came a week after Weathers was disappointed in his defense, that gave up 62 points to Regent Prep.
“We did some things that we had worked on and were wanting to improve on, but we’re still needing to work on some of the pass defense,” Weathers said. “I definitely feel like we’ve made some strides, but then it seems like we’ll take a few steps back. But we have a lot of young kids back there in the defensive backfield and they are getting better.”
Fortunately for Coyle, they are the most explosive offense in Class C – scoring 70 points per game – though Deer Creek-Lamont sports one of the best defenses in the district. The Eagles have only given up 42 points to Class C foes.
“We’re going to have to take care of the ball,” Weather said. “As aggressive as their defense looks, they’re causing a lot of turnovers. So we’ve got to stress that this week about taking care of the football.”
The Maroons will face a stout defense themselves in their matchup with Hennessey. The Eagles team Perry will take on has given up just 55 points in six games, with 21 points given up to Class 3A Jones being the most scored on them.
In its three district games – which were against the bottom three teams in the district – Hennessey gave up just 14 points, while its offense has averaged 54 points per game the past three weeks.
“They are obviously the team to beat,” Bennett said. “They’ve built a great tradition there the last couple of years and obviously they are a real solid bunch.”
Bennett’s squad is coming off a humbling loss to a Class A Cashion team that is 6-0 and have outscored their opponents 340-71. In that contest, Perry – which had been averaging 32 points per game – managed to score just 14 against the smaller school to match its lowest output in a game this year.
It was a game Bennett hopes his team has learned from heading into the meat of the district schedule.
“We just need to get mentally tough,” Bennett said. “Obviously, we didn’t play up to our capabilities, and obviously I’ll take the blame on that, but we need to be more focused. That was a good lesson for us and hopefully we wake up and play up to our capability Thursday night.”
HERITAGE HALL AT CUSHING
The Cushing Tigers look to pull an upset on the short week with district leader Heritage Hall (5-1, 3-0) visiting.
Cushing (3-3, 1-2) is coming off a 47-0 blowout of lowly Oklahoma Centennial following back-to-back district losses to Perkins-Tryon and Kingfisher.
Heritage Hall rolled past the Demons last week in a Thursday night contest with its close district game coming against Blackwell (3-3, 1-1) in which Heritage Hall won 49-27 on the road.
MANNFORD AT PERKINS-TRYON
After getting blown out on the road a week ago, Perkins-Tryon gets what should be an easy test on the short week.
The Demons (4-2, 2-1), coming off a 35-7 loss to Heritage Hall, will host a Mannford team that is winless in its two district games and has only one victory on the season. Mannford (1-5) has scored a district-low 59 points to date, while opponents have scored 215 points.
The Wildcats look to remain unbeaten in district play – and set up a collision course with fellow unbeatens Kiefer and Hominy in the final two weeks of the season – when they host a Barnsdall team that is winless in district.
Morrison (5-1, 2-0) is coming off a 44-14 blowout at Drumright last week, while Barnsdall (2-4, 0-3) is riding a four-game losing streak with its last loss being a 46-22 beat-down by Mounds.
YALE AT MOUNDS
Yale is still searching for its first win of the season under a first-year coach and it won’t be any easier this week.
The Bulldog (0-5, 0-2) travel to face a Mounds team that is holding opponents to just 18 points per game. Mounds (4-2, 2-1) has won back-to-back games since its 46-12 loss to Morrison.
NEWKIRK AT PAWNEE
The Black Bears look to get their first district win of the season against a Newkirk team that has given up more points than its scored – yet still hold a 2-1 district record.
Pawnee (1-5, 0-2) has been outscored the past two weeks by a combined 82-10 in matchups against district leaders Perry and Hennessey. The two district wins for Newkirk (3-3 overall) came over fellow winless district foes Alva (0-6, 0-3) and Tonkawa (1-5, 0-3) the past two weeks, with Newkirk beating Alva 49-28 and shutting out Tonkawa 27-0.