By Chuck Reherman
A dominating opener.
Yukon’s coaching staff felt going into the season opener that the Miller freshmen could be a special team.
The Millers showed that Monday night.
Yukon scored on their first six possessions of the game and rolled to a 41-0 rout of Edmond Memorial at Miller stadium.
It was a total performance from the Millers, as the defense clamped down on Edmond Memorial’s spread offense and used a balanced running game (without starting A back Makari Slaughter) to roll to the one-sided win.
“It felt good, felt very, very good,” freshman head coach Aaron Dillard said. “It was nice that we went out and did that without Makari, he is a big piece. But, I was really proud of the kids. We played well, our receivers blocked well and our O-line had a good game.
“The defense pitched a shutout, so we felt they played very well,” he added. “I was proud of their effort and how physical we were tonight. The defense was really physical tonight.”
The physical nature of the defense was evident from the opening play. Edmond North had a minus seven yards on their first four plays of the game.
And, when the Bulldogs gambled in that opening series, the Millers jumped all over it. Edmond Memorial gambled on a fourth and 17 from their own 10 yard line and the Yukon defense did not give up a yard on the play.
Yukon scored for the first time of the season just three plays later as Parker Means scored on a three-yard run to open a 6-0 lead just three and one-half minutes into the game.
The Miller defense stopped Memorial again, Joe Wythe and Carson Creach sacked Memorial’s quarterback and forced a punt from their Bulldog 15 yard line.
The Millers scored two plays later on a 30-yard run by Wythe. Wythe carried two Memorial tacklers into the end zone with him, giving Yukon a 13-0 lead with 1:39 left in the opening quarter.
The defense set up the third score when Dayne Guzzardo intercepted a Memorial pass and returned it 24 yards to the Yukon 48-yard line.
Two plays later, Creach found a seam on the defense and rambled 46-yards for a score and a 20-0 lead with 6:56 left in the first half.
The Millers scored again quickly as Cole Hobson scored on a 50-yard run on a option play. The score capped a two-play 75-yard drive, Wythe had a 10-yard run that a 15-yard face mask penalty was tacked on top of the run.
Yukon added a fifth first half touchdown with 20 seconds left in the half as Brayden Dutton completed a nine-yard scoring pass to Tino Licastro. That score was set up when Jimmie Knight recovered a short kickoff for the Millers at the Memorial 39-yard line. Dutton had a 22-yard run in the drive and threw the touchdown pass two plays later.
The Millers added their final score midway in the third quarter on a two-yard scoring run by Luke Harris. The score capped a five-play, 65-yard drive that was highlighted by a 58-yard Dutton to Guzzardo pass.
“It was good that we go to play a lot of our guys,” Dillard said. “We got a lot of our twos in and had some three get to play. We saw a lot of good things out of the kids.
“For our first game, we are pleased with where we are at,” he said. “We didn’t have any turnovers, so that was a big deal that we took care of the ball and we scored in every drive except one or two in the second half. I felt we did a lot of good things.”
The Millers finished the game with 258 yards of offense, 191 on the ground in only 24 rushes, Creach had 57 yards on eight carries, Hobson 50 on one and Wythe 44 on four.
Dutton completed two of three passes for 67 yards and one touchdown.
The Millers will play the freshman version of Canadian County Bedlam on Monday at Mustang. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.
“It is a big rivalry and a big game for us,” Dillard said. “We are looking forward to playing the game and we expect to play well.
“We have to get a little better up front, not blocking but in recognition,” Dillard said. “Memorial in the second half started blitzing some linebackers and did some things we should have picked up but didn’t.
“We are going to add to our playbook,” he added. “We have only a handful of plays in right now and we have a whole lot more we can add. We are looking forward to getting those in, especially in our passing game and our quarterback run game. Other than that, we just need to get better at the things we do.”
By Chuck Reherman