By Chuck Reherman
In the second half of the season every game is a big game in a district race.
For Yukon, their biggest game of the year is Thursday night.
YHS will host Westmoore in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Miller Stadium in the game that the Millers will be looking to get back into the middle of the District 6AI-1 race.
The Millers are currently sitting in fifth place in the district race with a 1-2 record (2-4 overall). Westmoore is in a four-way tie for second place with Jenks, Norman and Edmond Santa Fe all at 2-1. The Jaguars had started the season with a 5-0 record but saw that end with a 55-14 loss to Broken Arrow. YHS lost to Jenks 68-14.
A win would put the Millers back into the top four and a chance to reach the playoffs. The Millers had a chance to beat the Jags last season after opening a 14-0 lead, but fell 35-14.
Westmoore comes into the game with an offensive that has scored 30 or more points in their first five wins and feature a big-play type of attack.
“This is the biggest game of the year,” YHS head coach Jeremy Reed said. ‘It doesn’t settle the rest of the year, but it definitely tells you a lot. You win this and you put yourself in great position to be in the playoffs either as a three or a four, depending on what happens down the road. You could even be higher depending on the way things fall
“But this is a real big game, just like last year,” he said. “This is kind of the situation we are in.”
The Millers still have the top team in the district (Broken Arrow) on their schedule next week and finish with Enid and Edmond Memorial, which are both winnable games. A win over Westmoore would put the Millers at 2-2 and would have to win two of their next three to get that first playoff berth since the 2013 season (the year before class 6A was split into two classes).
The Millers will face a Westmoore team that prefers the pass over the run, but does have a dual threat quarterback in Datton Wolfe, who gave YHS fits in last year’s contest.
Colby Phillips is in the mold of past Westmoore receivers. He’s 6-3 and 185 and can leap for the ball.
“Westmoore is about 60-40 pass to run,” Reed said. “The quarterback is a really good player, is accurate and does a good job of extending plays. He is also a good runner and is more of downhill type runner.
“They have several receivers that are pretty dynamic in the open space,” he said. “They have some good lineman and have some size up front as well.
“Defensively, they put a lot of speed on the field. When you look at height and weight, they don’t overwhelm you, it is quite smaller than a lot of the teams we play against, but their philosophy is to put speed on the field and run you down. And, they are good tacklers as well.”
That Jenks defense will face a Miller offense that leads the state in the rushing the ball. YHS has run for 2,141 yards in six games (an average of 357 yards a game).
The attack has been balanced with four runners having over 345 yards running the ball.
“We have to get our B backs going again after last week,” Reed said. “We will see what Westmoore’s philosophy on defense will be. When we get our B backs going, it makes our offense a lot better.
“But, if not, we have some big threats in Caden (Hernandez) and Makari (Slaughter). We had the fastest two guys on the field last week with our A backs.
“Defensively, we have to tackle better,” he said. “That is the whole key, we have to tackle.”
By Chuck Reherman