By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Yukon begins District 6AI-1 play Friday and despite facing a team that has yet to win a game, the Millers will be playing the best team they have seen to date.
No. 6 ranked Yukon will host No. 4 Broken Arrow in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Miller Stadium.
When coaches say their team will be facing the best 0-3 team in the state, it is usually what is called “coach-speak.” This time, though, will be different.
The Tigers, have lost to No. 1 ranked Tulsa Union 26-15, Dallas Southlake Carroll 21-14 and to No. 2 Owasso 49-27. And despite the 0-3 record, the team is still ranked in the top five.
Yukon has not beaten Broken Arrow in their three previous meetings, and the games have really not even been close. But, this is a different Yukon team than the past three as well.
The Millers enter with a 2-1 record and will put their two-game win streak on the line and looks to win their first district game since 2014. YHS comes into the contest after posting a 28-7 win over Southmoore last week.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that this is the best team we have played to this point of the season,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “They have played three really good football teams and their record is no indication of where they are as a team. So, I do not think they are invinceable or unbeatable by any means, but they are the best football team we have seen.
“Record doesn’t mean anything to me even if they are 0-3,” he said. “I personally think this will be one of the top two teams we play on our whole schedule. I like these games because it is a measuring stick to see where we are at. Are we at the point where we can compete with the best and if we are we will find out Friday. If we are still aways away, we will find out Friday. It is a great opportunity to find out where we are at, good, bad or indifferent.
“Every district game is big, we want to go to the playoffs., And, the first district game is big, because you want to start off with something positive. We will prepare like we have been and we will see what happens when we roll out at 7 p.m.”
The Tigers have put the running game in the hands of Noah Cortes. He has a big front line led by Andrew Raym (6-4,290) and Trase Jeffries (6-2, 245) to fun behind. Tight end Devin Clayton (6-2, 235) has been a favorite target.
“Broken Arrow likes to run the ball a little more than throw it, but they will be pretty balanced,” Reed said. “They will get in a lot of different formations and shifts and different things. I know their offensive coordinator and he does a really good job of manipulating some things from an offensive perspective.
“They have a really good offensive line, are very good at what they do, have good size move their feet well,” he added. They also have a good runningback that has good size, and their quarterback is a threat in the running game. He throws a good ball and has a threat on the outside at receiver. Much the same as a lot of teams in 6AI-1. Just good all the way around.”
The defense is led by Derrick Shaw (6-1 270) and linebacker Zach Marcheselli (6-2, 210) anchors the middle of the defense.
“Broken Arrow’s defense is very physical, their front seven is very physical,” Reed said. “I may be wrong, but I would be surprised if there is a better front four defensive line we have in our district. They have multiple guys up front that are good football players, good size, good speed, good strength, just really good. Their linebackers are very physical and run to the ball well. As far as a front seven, they are a very good football team.
“We will have to match their physicality or it will be a long night,” he said. “We have already addressed that. I am not much into sugar coating things to kids, but I don’t want to scare them. I have told them that if we do match their physicality, we are in for a super long night on the offensive side. That will be our challenge not to be shell shocked when we roll out there the first time and start running plays. We have to understand that they are going to bring it.”
This will be the first time the teams have met that the Millers are coming in with a winning record. The Miller defense has improved since the first week of the season and the offense has driven the ball and put points on the board.
“Our players are very confident,” Reed said. “They have watched what we have been doing for quite a while now and seeing why we do certain things. When we do the things we do and you don’t play any games you are going this is a little overboard. But, after seeing the success on the field with two wins, it is easy to see what that process is intended for. It is easy to have them focused right now because they can see they can have a special season. We have to be guarded about being over confident because those two wins don’t define a season, we have several big games coming up.
“They have a really good runningback and we better get ready tio lower our pad level and wrap up. He is very comparable to the kid at Mustang, you are going to bounce off of him if you don’t run your feet and lower your pad level.
It is going to be a challenge to stop their running game, but I feel our defense has gotten better throughout the first three weeks and I like where we are at,” he added. “I am very anxious to see how we respond to a very good team that runs the ball the way they do.”