Like many high school coaches around the state, Cory Bales has been through a rollercoaster ride during the first three weeks of the season.
Yet, as of Wednesday, that ride is more enjoyable than it has been at times.
Two weeks ago, the longtime Morrison High football coach saw his team suffer a frustrating 40-8 loss to Oklahoma Christian School to begin the season. However, the Wildcats rebounded with a 30-19 victory over Kiefer last week.
The ride took a sharp turn and dipped down after the win. Bales found out his next opponent – Haskell – likely wasn’t going to be able to play Friday night. Muskogee County has been designated a “Red” county because of its high number of COVID-19 cases, which caused Haskell officials to cancel this week’s game.
Yet, somehow, Bales’ rollercoaster ride climbed up Tuesday.
Porter, which is located 11 miles northeast of Haskell in Wagoner County, was scheduled to have a second open week. That changed Tuesday when it agreed to travel to Morrison for a game at 7 p.m. Friday.
“It’s weird, because it’s about 10 miles away from Haskell,” Bales said. “They are right over in the same vicinity. I was on the phone for about two and a half hours today. I didn’t teach class, but we got it done. … My kids get to play Friday. That’s the main thing.”
Bales’ main concern was trying to find a game for his players. There might have been extra motivation from the players since this is homecoming week at Morrison.
“It’s a win-win for us, just because I want my kids to play,” Bales said. “We get to have homecoming and all of that stuff, but my kids get to play. That’s the main thing.”
Morrison and Porter enter Friday’s game with a 1-1 record. The Wildcats’ Class A opponent lost 41-18 to Chelsea before beating Mounds 18-14 two weeks ago.
The Wildcats are trying to build on last week’s win before they start district action in two weeks.
“This group has a lot of new faces, so every time they can go out there and play, they’ll get better and better,” Bales said. “We’re still waiting on a couple kids to come back from injury. It’s all on the positive right now. That first week was a really bad experience for my kids and for me. We had injuries we just couldn’t afford. Everything just kind of piled up there. We had a little breath of fresh life last week and we’re trying to build on that.”
Follow Jimmy Gillispie on Twitter @jgillispie_stw for live updates from Friday’s game at Morrison.
Demons will travel to Chisholm
Although nothing is normal during this global pandemic, this week was the closest to normal the Perkins-Tryon football team and coach Bruce Williams have felt since late August.
The Demons’ season opener was postponed the week of the game to this Friday night. Before what was supposed to be the new season opener Sept. 4, the Demons were forced to cancel because of contact tracing after a student-athlete tested positive for COVID-19.
They returned to the practice field for a day before playing and losing to rival Cushing last Friday night. Instead of three games – and hopefully three wins for a team picked very high in the Class 3A preseason poll – under their belt, the Demons are 0-1 entering what was originally their bye week.
“We are playing catch up, to be honest with you,” Williams said. “We’re obviously two weeks behind. Practices are going a little longer. We’re trying to implement our stuff that we need on both sides of the football. Practices are longer and a little more intense than normal for Week 3. For us, it’s kind of like Week 1 all over again.”
P-T will travel to Chisholm for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday night. Chisholm is 1-1 after a 45-8 loss to Kingfisher, which is a district foe for P-T.
While the Demons are anxious to play another game, they’ve been happy to be practicing this week. It’s allowed them to go through what used to be a normal game week.
“Being back to somewhat normal for us has been really good,” Williams said. “It was a tough loss last week, but we keep things in perspective. We had one practice in the last two weeks. You’re playing a really good opponent who has been practicing and playing, so we were behind the eight ball starting out. We wanted the opportunity to play. The kids wanted to play. Even if the game ended in defeat, we’d make the same decision again just because the experience of playing outweighs the negative results.
“We’ve learned to appreciate practice. Even the hard, grinding days of practice, we’ve learned to appreciate those. I told them a couple weeks ago is going to be the best thing that can happen to us, because it’s going to make us appreciate being out here. It has given us a new outlook on life and football. We’ve really learned not to take things for granted.”
Cushing to host Berryhill
For the second-straight week, Cushing will play an opponent who is yet to play this fall.
The Tigers (2-0) will host Berryhill at 7 p.m. Friday. Berryhill’s first two games were canceled, so it will make its season debut in Cushing.
Berryhill won last year’s game 36-33 at home.
Undefeated Yale to play Depew
After two shutout victories, Yale will aim to become 3-0 this Friday night. The Bulldogs (2-0) will host Depew for its first real test of the season.
Depew is 2-1 after falling hard, 64-14, to Garber last week. Depew and Yale were district opponents last year, and Depew won 56-16.
Coyle facing tough test in Garber
The Bluejackets’ season opener was delayed until last week, and it didn’t go well in a 46-0 loss for the home team.
A very young Coyle team is trying to bounce back this Friday when it travels to Garber (2-0) for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Garber won its first two games by a combined scored of 104-28.