By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – In a match-up of unbeaten top 10 ranked teams, the one that makes the fewest mistakes 99 percent of the time comes out on top.
Yukon made those mistakes, Edmond Santa Fe did not and the Wolves came out with a 30-14 win over the Millers Friday night at Wolves’ Stadium.
The No. 7 ranked Millers had their four-game win streak and chance to win go 5-0 for the first time since 1998 snapped by the No. 5 Wolves, who scored three second half touchdowns to pull out the win. YHS had their chances in the game, but had an interception on its first possession, lost a fumble on its second and penalties at key times derailed that opportunity.
The Millers were at the Santa Fe seven-yard line and had a chance to either tie the game with a field goal or take the lead with a touchdown before the fumble.
“Our whole team played the worst game of the year,” YHS head coach Jeremy Reed said. “We made some very uncharacteristic mistakes in all phases. We just played the worst game of the year, I don’t know how to nice it up other than that.
“It’s 6-0 at half and like I told them at halftime it’s a six-point game and we are just a touchdown and a PAT away from taking the lead,” he said. “We three and outed them and gave up a fake punt to start the second. That is on us as coaches, that’s not on the kids and we will take full ownership on that one. As a whole, though, we just weren’t here tonight.”
It was a closer game than the final score showed and the Millers were in the game until the Wolves recorded a safety and scored an ensuing touchdown with 2:43 remaining in the game.
Yukon had scored to close the margin to 21-7 with 1:59 remaining in the third quarter as Jackson Young fired a strike to Owen Olsen for a 30-yard touchdown. Young found Olsen over the middle at the 18-yard line and he ran through a defender on his way to the score.
The touchdown had capped a 69-yard drive in only three plays. Noah Davis broke a 36-yard run on first down and on a second and three play, Young connected with Olsen.
Yukon’s defense turned back Santa Fe on the next possession and stopped the Wolves a second time after having to punt the ball back. Santa Fe’s punt went out at the two-yard line, pinning the Millers’ deep.
On the first play, Young was caught in the backfield and tackled in the end zone for a safety, giving Santa Fe a 23-7 lead.
The Wolves took the ensuing possession and put together a 10-play 61-yard drive that took nearly four minutes. Tyler Travis scored on a three-yard run that opened a 30-7 lead with 2:43 remaining.
Yukon did score again on a five-yard run by Kaden Hernandez on the final play of the game. YHS marched 62 yards in 10 plays for the score. Young had connected with Olsen on a 20-yard pass play and Isaiah Butler broke a 15-yard run.
“We had the best week of practice we have had all year, so there was nothing that showed us that we should have played poorly,” Reed said. “They did nothing offensively or defensively different, it was the exact plan we knew. It boiled down to us going out and executing the plays. Not only did we not execute, but we made some bad plays.
“I told the kids, they had to fill in the blanks as to why we played poorly,” Reed said. “I don’t know if it is that we still don’t know how to play in the big, big games, I don’t know. That is for us to figure out, it is a little baffling right now as to how we played.”
Trailing 6-0 starting the second half, the Miller defense came out to start the third and did what they needed, stopped Santa Fe in three plays. But, on fourth down, upback James Stevenson was snapped the ball on a fake punt and ran 45 yards before being tackled at the Miller 29-yard line.
Kanan Henson fired a 28-yard pass to the one yard line and Travis scored on the next play to open a 13-0 lead.
Santa Fe scored again in the third on a 46-yard run by Ethane Hynche, who also ran in the conversion that opened a 21-0 lead.
“We didn’t tackle well, that is the most missed tackles we have had all year combined,” Reed said. “There was just a lot of things that happened in all phases that have not happened all year.
“Granted, Santa Fe is a good team,” he said. “They are the best team we have played, but not to the magnitude that I felt this game should have been where it was.”
The Millers opened the game in the same fashion as the week before, using a ball controlling ground game. YHS moved the ball to the Santa Fe 29 yard line, but a chop block penalty at the 35-yard line moved the ball back to midfield and YHS was faced with a third and 31 play.
YHS went for some trickery, pitching the ball to Isaiah Butler, who threw the halfback pass, but Santa Fe figured it out and Micah Snoddy intercepted the ball at the Santa Fe 30.
Santa Fe went on a 21-play drive to the Miller four-yard line but was stopped on third and goal and settled for a 21-yard field goal. The drive took over seven minutes.
Yukon had the chance to take the lead after driving from their own 15 to the Santa Fe seven 11 plays but fumbled on that 11th play and Santa Fe recovered.
The Wolves made it a 6-0 game on a 27-yard field goal with two seconds left in the half.
“Tomorrow there will be a silver lining, but not tonight,” Reed said. “I hate losing, I absolutely hate losing, especially when I feel we didn’t put our best foot forward. Tomorrow it will feel better but tonight I am going to continue to not being the happiest character in the world.
“You think these guys were good, show up next week and watch the next one,” he added. “Again, it is not the opponent we are worried about tonight, I just don’t understand why we played poorly in the areas we have not played poorly in all year long. We have to identify that and figure it out quickly.”
The Millers host No. 2 Jenks on Friday night at Miller Stadium.
By Chuck Reherman