By Chuck Reherman
Five weeks into the season and Yukon gets to do something the Millers have not done so far.
Play a home game.
YHS will open the home portion of their season Friday, hosting Edmond Santa Fe in a key District 6AI-1 game at Miller Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The Millers, 1-3, will be looking to snap a three-game skid and earn their first district win of the season. But, YHS will face another tough challenge from Santa Fe, who enters with a 3-1 record after opening the district slate with a 37-21 win over crosstown rival Edmond Memorial.
The Wolves had won the last five meetings between the team, although the Millers did have chances those games.
The Millers come into the game after losing to Norman 61-38 in the district opener last week.
The Millers will go into the game looking to erase mistakes the team has made in their last two outings that put them in an early hole. YHS has turned the ball over nine times in the last two games and YHS head coach Jeremy Reed is looking for those to be corrected going into the game.
“This is a big game for us this week,” Reed said. “You have to notch a win somewhere and on this schedule you can’t put asterisks besides the easy games, because they are not going to show up. You just don’t have them.
“It is a big game for both of us,” he said. “They are thinking they need this to stay in the race and I think we need to stay in the race. It seems like it is that way every year when we play Santa Fe, it is always a high caliber game in the district race. They are all big, every game we play from here on out will be big.”
The Wolves have focused more on their running game this season while breaking in a new quarterback. Santa Fe does have a quality group or receivers led by Talyn Shettrock.
Santa Fe does return Micah Snoddy to the run game, who gave the Miller defense troubles last year.
“They have a lot of new kids on both sides of the ball, but Santa Fe is just so athletic as a whole and they do a great of plugging in the holes,” Reed said. “Their staff does a good job, I know several of their coaches, they are good guys and do a good job coaching, so you know they will be prepared.
“They play very hard and it will be a great game,” Reed said. “We just need to go play a little cleaner. I expect us to have a great shot in the fourth quarter.”
Santa Fe’s young defense will face a Miller ground attack that is leading the state. YHS has amassed 1,527 yards on the ground in their first four games (381 yards a game).
Runningback Makari Slaughter ran for 165 yards on 16 carries last week and has rushed for 434 on 40 carries in four games. Camron Farmer had his second 100-yard game of the season last week (122 in 19 carries) and has rushed for 388 in 59 carries.
YHS rushed for 380 yards in the loss at Norman and what was with an offensive line that has three new faces in the line-up from the start of the season.
The Millers are hoping to be a little healthier going into the game. YHS had several players and starters out of the line-up the last two weeks.
“It is what it is, we have preached since I have got here, the theory of next man up,” Reed said. “This is the ultimate team game and I feel like we have to really do what we see. Last Friday, we started six sophomores and a freshman. If you can find me another 6AI team that is starting anywhere close to that, let me know. In this league, it is a very upperclassmen dominated league.
“What we did with six sophomores and a freshman is encouraging as we move forward as a coach,” he said. “With that many young kids on the field there are some things that are going to happen with young kids. I have as a human worked on my patience over the years and it has really helped me this year. I am very patient knowing that and I know as the year goes on we will see them grow up.”