By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Coming up with the big plays.
That’s what Yukon needed and did in their season opener Friday night in Edmond.
Collin Grulkey’s intercepted of a Colby Entwhistle pass at the Miller seven-yard line with 7:03 remaining in the game and big runs from Landon Donoho and Camron Farmer powered YHS to a 21-13 win over Edmond North at Huskie Stadium.
It was the Millers’ second season opening win in a row (and second over Edmond North). And, although this one was not easy, Yukon made the big plays when needed, especially in the second half to earn the win.
The Millers led 14-13 at halftime and shut down the Huskies in the second half. The Miller defense held North to only 15 plays in the second half and used a time consuming 13-play, 57-yard drive to take the final 7:03 off the clock.
“That’s a nice way to start of the season, 1-0, you can’t beat it,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “I knew coming in there was a chance of a lot of miscues and maybe nervousness, just a lot of things that can happen in a week zero game. We saw a lot of that happen early on, but we didn’t planic and stayed true to our play. Give Edmond North a lot of credit, those kids played super hard and we had to really fight for everything we got tonight.
“Our offense is built to control the football game when we want to and that is what we did at the end of the game,” he said. “We have a lot of big play ability this year, but it is nice to know you also have the ability to chew up the clock and help your defense out. The best defense is when that offense is on the field.
“Super proud of the toughness and grittyness of our offense in that last drive. Our B backs ran so hard. We knew that would be the strength of our football team and the offensive line did a great job of getting a little but of movement. The B backs took a lot on their shoulders in the second half.”
It was the B (fullback) backs that did carry the load in the running game. Landon Donoho rushed for 103 yards on 14 carries and Camron Farmer had 95 on 16 carries. Along with a third B back, Joe Wythe, those players carried the ball nine times in that final drive for 51 yards and chewed up most of the 7:03 remaining on the clock.
The offense was given that chance after Grulkey intercepted an Entwhistle pass at the seven yard line. The North quarterback had gone for the deep pass on a third at 12 at the Miller 40-yard line when Grulkey made the play.
“Landon has been running with a mission,” Reed said. “There is a lot of competition back there And competition brings out the best in people and that is what I have seen in Landon, His game has gone up because of Camron. I think that is going to do nothing but help our team in the long run.
“We told our kids at halftime, everything we were doing that was stopping us offensively was either with penalties or perimeter blocking issues,” he said. “Edmond North had their plan, they stuck with it the entire game, but we were a block away from having some huge plays on the outside. We will have some good film time to get that corrected.”
Donoho scored what turned out to be the game winner on the opening play of the fourth quarter. He barreled in from four yards out after setting up the score with a 27-yard run the play before. The B backs on the drive carried it all seven times and combined for 60-yards.
The Millers trailed twice in the game, but each time answered quickly to take the lead. After each team had an initial possession, the Huskies took the lead on on a six-yard Entwhistle pass to Lennon Shedegg with 30 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Nate Hahn blocked the extra point.
YHS answered quickly with Brayden Dutton completing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Colton DeKinder to tie the game at the 8:48 mark of the second quarter. It was Dutton, who was making his first high school start, first varsity pass and first touchdown pass.
Cody Watson’s extra point gave the Millers a 7-6 lead.
North regained the lead with 3:48 left in the half on a 51-yard Enwhistle touchdown pass to Eythan Graham.
The Millers answered with a one-yard scoring run by Farmer with 19 seconds left in the half to take a 14-13 lead. The drive covered 81 yards in 12 plays and was set up by runs of 29 and 19 yards by A back Makari Slaughter, who was also making his first high school start.
“That one pass we completed was big,” Reed said. “What we want is be efficient and have the big play capability. We wanted to throw the ball a little more, we just didn’t feel like they were doing some things to completely take advantage, so we will continue to look for those opportunities.
“We almost had a big one in the end zone in the first half that we dropped,” he said. “It was nice to have that one touchdown pass.
“We moved the ball well, but we have to cut out those penalties,” he added. “Things you expect in a week zero game, not things you like or accept, but know those will happen. North has a good quarterback and we have some things we need to get corrected on defense and get ready a small game in Canadian County.”