Millers face unbeaten Santa Fe in top 10 match-up

Antonio Washington eludes a Norman tackler in the Millers win last week. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

By Chuck Reherman
Sports Editor
Going for five.
Yukon goes chasing a fifth straight win and the Millers will face their toughest challenge of the season with its first road trip. YHS travels to unbeaten and No. 5 ranked Edmond Santa Fe in a District 6A-1 match-up. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Santa Fe Stadium.
The No. 7 ranked Millers face the first of four key district match-ups against a Santa Fe team that has been explosive on offense the last two games and has not given up more than two touchdowns to an opponent in their four games.
Santa Fe edged the Millers 17-10 last season and have won the last four straight.
“Santa Fe is easily the most talented and best team we will have played to this point,” YHS head coach Jeremy Reed said. “Offensively, the quarterback is a good player and throws the ball well. They have some new people at skill positions, I feel they are a lot less proven at those spot, but they have good kids there. They are utilizing their best athletes at those positions.
“Up front they are real big, but they are young,” he said. “They threw the ball with a lot of success last week. They like to run the ball, but they will do what they do what will bring them success.
“Defensively, they are very, very talented. A lot of speed, that is the first thing you notice. They have several guys 6-3, 6-4 and very rangy. They definitely hang their hat on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Millers will go on the road for the first time since their only scrimmage back on Aug. 17. But, Reed doesn’t see that as a deterrent and expects his team to be ready to play.
“I don’t from our end the travel will make any difference, it will turn into a football game at 7 p.m.,” Reed said. “I don’t feel like going on the road is going to be a big deal. Now, the team we are playing will be a big challenge, but as far as going on the road in general, there isn’t any concerns.”
Santa Fe’s main threat is senior Trace Ford, who has committed to Oklahoma State. The 6-3, 230-pound multi-purpose player will line up at end and linebacker on defense and will also line up at a receiver on offense.
Quarterback Kanan Hansen had a solid night in the Wolves’ 42-7 win over Edmond Memorial last week and gave the Millers some problems last year in their meeting. The front line is led by Rey Burnett (6-5, 310), Trae Anderson (6-3, 280) and Evan Maples (6-4, 260).
Santa Fe’s defense, though, is what the Wolves have relied on. The defense held Memorial to only 115 yards of offense last week and none of their first four opponents have had much success against the Wolves.
The Wolves defense has allowed only 10 points a game to opponents and most of those scores have come after the Wolves have rolled to big leads. Santa Fe led Norman North 49-0 the third week of the season enroute to a 49-13 win.
Ford is the key on defense and will be used in different positions. Defensive back Kamron Love leads the secondary. Michael Pope at end and Terrance Hill will also be key players on defense.
“They will play the Ford kid at an interior defensive spot, at end and inside linebacker and outside linebacker, the guy can be anywhere. We have to know where he is at from that aspect. But, the nature of what we offensively, we will be able to block him, to read him and do several things to hopefully help us utilize his strengths to be a strength on our side of the ball.
“He is definitely a player that you have to know where he is at,” he said. “He is as good a defensive player as we will probably see all year long. The problem is, he has other guys on the defensive line that nice counterparts. They are really talented on the defensive line.”
The Millers are looking to counter that defense with a similar style of game plan they used last week against Norman. Control the game with their ground game.
Yukon used a pair of over eight-minute drives that led to touchdowns in the 14-7 win over the Tigers. The Millers did that with a tough inside ground attack with A backs Noah Davis and Landon Donoho.
The offense is also looking to get their B backs, Isaiah Butler and Antonio Washington on the edge more to give the offense that breakaway threat.
“I feel what we did against Norman is kind of who we are as far as being tough and disciplined and sustaining drives,” Reed said. “The better the opponents get the more that magnifies. I would like to say we can go out and average 35 to 42 points a game, but I don’t know if that is how we are built.
“We are a team that needs to pride ourselves on execution and holding onto the football,” he said. “I think we have big play ability, but we also have the ability to three and four yard you to death if that is what we need to do.”
This game is the first in four game stretch that will be the toughest on the YHS schedule and will play the major part as far as post season for Yukon.
“We have gotten pretty good at focusing on this opponent,” Reed said. “For us, we know these next four games will pretty much tell our story of what our future holds. The more you win, the more build up you have for the next week. Every week gets more magnified and it is good be in a position to control your own destiny.
“As of right now, we are 1-0 in district and if we go out and win again, we set ourselves up for the chance to make the playoffs,” he said. “You want to control you own destiny and not have to count on others. We definitely have to play our best football these next four weeks.”