By Chuck Reherman
EDMOND – Coaches say the biggest improvement a team can make is between week one and week two.
That showed for Yukon Friday night.
The Millers put together a dominating performance, rolling to a 62-20 win over Edmond Deer Creek, spoiling the Antlers home opener.
Yukon rolled up over 500 yards of offense including 106-yards through the air and three touchdowns in the blowout win to even their record at 1-1. And, the defense bounced back from a struggling performance in the season opener to hold Deer Creek to 250 yards of offense in 61 plays and picked off three Antler passes.
The win made the Millers 3-0 all time against the Antlers and was the most lopsided of the three meetings. The first two were both less than a touchdown difference.
The Millers did trail once in the game after Deer Creek kicked a field goal on the opening series of the game, but the Millers answered with 41 straight points to turn the contest into a rout. YHS scored on all six of their possessions in the first half to open a 41-3 advantage.
“We came out and took care of business tonight,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “Offense played well, defense came back and played much better and everything we did in special teams was very good so it was a well-rounded night.
“This week was a lot more fun,” he added. “Last week was frustrating because we knew we did some things to hurt ourselves in different spots. It was nice to come out and show some improvement in those areas that we had talked about all week. A lot of things we talked about were better than what they were last week. I was pretty pleased just watching it live.”
The Millers did something in the game that has not happened in Yukon since the 2015 season with the three touchdown passes in one game and two in the first half. Quarterback Bradyen Dutton teamed up with Caden Hernandez on a 68-yard touchdown play and came back less than two minutes later wit an 11-yard scoring pass to Colby Baker. The second touchdown pass came after after a Keaton Hahn leaping interception and opened a 27-3 lead.
“I have said a million times its not that I don’t want to throw the ball, it is that we have to protect, throw it and then catch the ball,” Reed said. “We were able to do those things really well and it sure helps when you can do that. It makes big plays and really deflates the defense that is geared up to stop the run game that we are typically good at. It was fun to see our kids execute that part of our offense.
“I felt like our kids would settle in on defense after we gave up that first score and that we would have a shot to have a lot of success offensively,” he said. “We had to get the game going and get settled in. The defense got to play a little more to what their level is. They got to be who they are. The game plan Mustang did last week was a good one and we had to change some of the things we do. It was good for us to learn from that and look at some things this week, then it was to get to see our actual defense tonight.”
Deer Creek did drive from their own 37 led by four pass completions from quarterback Brett Pense that reached the Miller 20-yard line before the defense forced a stop on a third and 12 play. The Antlers settled for a field goal from Logan Ward and their only lead of the night.
It didn’t take the Miller offense long to take the lead as Dutton scored on a six-yard touchdown run with 5:49 left in the opening quarter. Dutton had a 20-yard run in the eight-play, 80-yard drive. Tristan Brooke had a 17-yard run, Hernandez a 15-yard run and Makari Slaughter an 11-yard run to set up the score.
Brooke scored on a 16-yard run on the Millers’ second possession with 2:49 left in the quarter and Dutton’s 68-yard scoring pass to Hernandez made it 20-3 with 59 seconds left in the quarter.
After Hahn’s interception, Dutton, who completed his only two passes for 79-yards, found Baker in the end zone for a 27-3 lead.
A second YHS interception, by Jaelyn Newman, set up a two-yard scoring run by Hernandez and a 34-3 lead with 9:14 left in the half.
The Millers’ final score of the first half came from sophomore Jesse Eakers on a 30-yard run. It was Eakers, who missed his freshman year due to an injury, first high school touchdown and opened the 41-3 lead with 3:14 left in the half.
YHS turned the game over to their second team for most of the second half and that group responded with three touchdowns. Tayvon Ware scored on a one-yard run to open a 48-10 lead, Logan Troxell tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Logan Grulkey, then kept the ball on a one-yard run to open a 62-10 lead with 29 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Millers racked up 431 yards on the ground in 46 rushes and had nine players carry the ball. Eakers rushed for 111 yards on nine carries, Ware had 84 on nine and Hernandez 76 on three.
“It is always fun to play kids that are not considered varsity starters on a Friday night,” Reed said. “They get to play on Monday night, but it is different on a Friday night and it is rewarding to get to see those kids who come to practice everyday get to experience the Friday night lights.
“And, not only that experience, they had a lot of success,” he said. “It is all good and very positive when the starters get their reps, then go out and get their rest and encourage their teammates behind them.
“We saw a lot of improvement this week and tonight we looked vastly improved in areas that we were not very good in last week. We were much more confident in what we were doing defensively and settled in on offense and got to be who we are in the option game on offense.”
The Millers go back on the road this week and travel to Norman to face Norman North in their final non district game. YHS goes to Norman a second straight week the following week to play Norman in the District 6A-1 opener.