By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – After spending the last four weeks on their home field, Yukon will break out the white jerseys Friday and go on the road for only the third time this season.
The Millers head to Edmond to play Memorial in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be played at Edmond Santa Fe’s high school stadium.
The Millers, 3-3 overall are 2-1 in the district 6AI-1 race and a win over the Bulldogs would put YHS in a stronger position to reach the playoffs. Memorial, 1-6, is 0-3 in the district and basically has their backs to the wall. With only three district games remaining, a fourth loss would put the Bulldogs out of the playoff race.
Memorial won the meeting between the teams last year, 34-22, and Holds a 4-3 lead in the last seven meetings. YHS lost 42-21 in 2015 and last won in 2014, 21-20.
Memorial lost to Jenks 52-7, their sixth loss in a row. Memorial’s only win came in week zero, 28-7 over Ponca City.
YHS head coach Jeremy Reed said Memorial doesn’t look like a team that is only 1-6 on the season and said his team has to be focused and ready to play on Friday night.
“I’m glad we are going in the road this week,” Reed laughed. “I think it is going to be good. We have played better on the road and they did at home until this last week. Sometimes it is easier to get focused on the road than it is at home.
“Memorial’s record may be 1-6, but when you click on the tape, you don’t see a team that is 1-6,” he said. “You see offensively, good athletes and a quarterback that is more than capable. Defensively, you see good looking kids. They have played Jenks, Edmond Santa Fe and Westmoore, those are the three best teams in our district, so you have to be careful about looking at records. As I said when we played Broken Arrow, this team is not a reflection of their record.”
“I expect to get their best shot this week. We will get everyone’s best shot, but they expect to beat Yukon. Kid-wise. Talking about a kids’ mentality, they see Yukon, they see a win. Those teams come in confident going against Yukon. That will hold true this week and we will have to play as well as we did last week if not better.”
The Bulldogs lost to Santa Fe and Westmoore as well as Jenks in district play and will be looking to stay in the playoff hunt, but would need a win this week.
The Millers are looking to basically put an end to their season with a win and go up 2-1 I district play.
“I’m sure their coaches are preaching to their kids a must win and if you want any chance at all to make the playoffs, this is a must win,” Reed said. “It will be interesting to see how they come out in the first half. Sometimes when peoples back are against the wall, they do different things, so we better be prepared. Such as shock plays at different times, trick plays, onsides kicks, we need to be in tune with knowing where they are at.
“We can’t be overly cautious where we are worried about that, but make sure we are focused to not let something like that beat us,” he said.
Memorial’s top player is wide receiver Brendan Mitchell (6-5, 200), who has Division I schools courting him. Quarterback Blake Burgess likes to target him six to 10 times a game.
The front line is anchored by Colin Benko (6-3, 265).
Defensively, the Bulldogs are built around linebackers Jack Onarecker and Tre Hill. Both can fly to the football and are sure tacklers.
“Edmond Memorial is a team that depends on which week you watch,” Reed said. “Last week against Jenks they came out in quads and three by two empty for a lot of the game. Maybe they thought they couldn’t run the ball against Jenks. In other games you will see one back, two back and three wide.
“They seem to scheme teams and where they can attack you,” he added. “They have been pretty scattered and it is more challenging not being able to put your finger on what they are going to do. We as a staff have kind of know what we think they will do, but it is speculation. You play someone that does a lot of stuff like that, you have to be very good at your fundamentals and techniques, get aligned and play your base-type defense.
“They have the one great receiver that is committed to Navy and he is a matchup problem for everyone. He can run, is a state placer in the 100 and is a big time threat.”
The Millers turned in one of their most complete games last week in the 56-28 win over Norman. The YHS offense totaled 552 yards and rushed for over 450 yards on the night.
Quarterback Perry Olsen rushed for 214 yards on only 13 carries and seven other runningbacks had over 230 yards.
“Memorial runs a multiple defense,” Reed said. “We have seen them in a lot of different stuff. We will have to see when we get over there.
“We have to guard against looking at Memorial’s record,” he said. “The thing about 6A is whether you play a team that is 7-0 or 1-6, and you are still going to play a good football team. If you take a breath and try and relax, you are going to get beat. There is no easy week, you have to be ready to play every week.”