By Chuck Reherman
Yukon winds up the home portion of their season and a tough four-game run, hosting No. 1 ranked Broken Arrow Thursday.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in the key district 6AI-1 contest that will also be Senior Night. Senior Night will be held before the game.
The Millers, 4-3, 1-3 in district play, finish the regular season on the road with games at Enid and Edmond Memorial.
The unbeaten Tigers, 7-0, will be the toughest test for the Millers of the season. Broken Arrow Edmond Santa Fe 35-7 last week and beat scored 60-plus points in their last two games and no team has held them under four touchdowns this season. The Tiger defense has allowed more than one touchdown only twice.
The Millers, who lost Westmoore 35-14, have not beaten Broken Arrow in district place since the 6AI class was formed.
“Broken Arrow is good in every direction, even backward they are good,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “Most talented 6A team as I have in a while. They have everything as far as super physical, speed, finesse, it is pretty impressive in how they are in all spots.
“Coming off last week and even these last three weeks, I have to put all my focus on us,” he said. “Obviously our confidence and belief is shaken and if that is shaken then it doesn’t matter we are playing and that concerns me for the rest of the year. I told them players yesterday that we have to back to remembering how good we were and how good we are going to be and not how good we could be, but how good we are going to be.
“You have to think like that as a competitor, if you get into the mindset of wondering and doubting, you are going to get beat in the league we play in. There is just no soft games and so for us to have a chance to be competitive, we have to get back to who we were. We played with a lot of swagger and confidence early in the season and for whatever reason it hasn’t been that way in a long time. This is the first time that I feel somewhat of a failure as a head coach because this is the first time I feel our team has not gotten better as the season has gone on. I have struggled with that for several days now trying to figure out why and what I can do differently.
“The No. 1 thing is we have to instill our confidence back. We are still the same team that was very, very good from early on and we can’t doubt ourselves.”
The Millers still have a chance to finish with a winning record and there is a chance the team can make the playoffs with who is left on other team’s schedules.
After Broken Arrow, the Millers finish the season on the road at Edmond Memorial (1-6) and Enid (1-6).
“Mathematically there are still some situations of where we can put ourselves in the playoffs,” Reed said. “Obviously, for where we are at in our program, getting to .500 is something we can look at as a victory. There is still a lot to play for. We can’t allow the loss last week to affect us for the rest of the season. That is not fair to anyone who has prepared for this season, from teammates to parents to coaches or community, we all owe it to each other to be the very best we can be and we what the final record can be.”
Broken Arrow enters the game with a team that no one on their schedule so far has played within two touchdowns of them.
The Tigers have an experienced team from last year back led by runningback Noah Cortes, who gave the Millers problems last year.
The Tigers also have Kejuan Tolbert in the backfield who has breakaway speed.
The front line is led by Andrew Raym (6-4, 305).
Defensively, linebacker Zach Marcheselli (6-1, 215) and has been the team’s leading tackle again this season.
“Broken Arrow has more size than teams we have played,” Reed said. “They beat Jenks by two touchdowns, but it was 21-13 late in the game, and you can see how we played in our game with Jenks and hopefully that will instill some confidence in our kids for this game.
“Broken Arrow has the runningback that was really tough for us to tackle and he has had a phenomenal year so far. They have the best offensive line that I have seen this year, are very physical and they like being physical. They will get into some old school looking stuff and just ram it down your throat.
“They can also pitch it for the big play and they can throw the ball down field,” he added. “They have one quarterback they bring in that they run a similar package at OU used with Blake Bell. And, he can also throw it well.
“Our defense has to play well against a very good offense, but our offense has to maintain the football. I don’t think anyone in Yukon should see the secret of why we do what we do. We don’t have the skill to run up and down the field with people and score all night long. We need to maintain drives and help our defense out. This is a very, very good football league and even tougher than it was last year.
“People are not scoring on Broken Arrow. They have a lot of kids back from last year, they are a year older and more physical. It will be a challenge for us, but it is a challenge for us to go out and play the best we can and let everything fall out as it does.
“Is it the best week to have the best team in the state come in here after three straight losses, well it’s not, but it is the hand we are dealt. You have to go with what you are dealt and it we want to rise this program, we have to learn how play in bigger ball games than some of the game we have won the last two years. And. I’m not slighting those wins, but at some point we have to take the next step and beat teams of a little higher caliber than we have.”
By Chuck Reherman