By Chuck Reherman
For the second week in a row, Yukon will make a trek south to Norman. This second time, though, will be the more important of the two.
The Millers open the 6A-1 district season Friday, face Norman in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Harve Collins Stadium.
The Millers knocked off Norman North last week at the stadium, rallying from a 10-point first half deficit to beat the Timberwolves 41-24. Norman, who has played only one game this season, lost in overtime to Mustang, 34-33.
The Tigers had their first two games canceled due to Covid-19 problems, but had their chances to beat the Broncos in their first outing on the road.
The teams have split their last six meetings. Norman won 61-38 last year at Norman after Miller mistakes gave the Tigers a huge early lead.
YHS head coach Jeremy Reed is 2-1 against the Tigers, winning 14-7 in 2018 and 56-28 in 2017.
“This is a pretty crucial game,” Reed said. “They are wanting to go to the playoffs like we are and these are games that you have to win to put yourself in a good position. If you lose, you are not out of it by any means, but you definitely dig yourself a hole.
“Norman is a good team, it will be a tough challenge,” he said. “Hopefully we can have a better start down there than we did the last two times we have been there.
“Going 2-1 in our first three games and going into district should give us confidence going into this game. The last two games going out and being successful on both sides of the ball at different times says different things about the last three games. We played well, not played well, it gives us a scenario of what we need to do to go and do in district play.”
The Tigers again will bring in an offensive attack that can put points on the board in a hurry even through the team is led by a sophomore quarterback. But NHS features a pair of tall receivers. One of those has already committed to Oklahoma State University.
“Their sophomore quarterback is good with his feet, so there will be a lot of quarterback runs,” Reed said. “They have a receiver that is going to Oklahoma State that is really, really good and is the best one we have seen all year. They try to get him the ball a whole bunch.
“Defensively, they run about the same scheme they have been running,” he said. “They have a move-in from Georgia that is a good football player and are better than I expected.”
Tias McClarty has taken over the reins at quarterback. The sophomore ran for 108 yards and completed 10 of 18 for over 200 yards last week. Jaden Bray is his key target, catching four passes four 122 yards last week against Mustang. Runningback Taylor Harris had a pair of touchdowns last week.
The Tiger defense returns four starters from last year, but will be challenged by a Miller offense that has been dominant the last two weeks. YHS rushed for 417 yards last week in the win over Norman North and had 431 yards on the ground against Edmond Deer Creek.
That defense will have to contend with a variety of runningbacks. The Millers had seven different ball carriers last week, led by B back Tristan Brooke, who rushed for 115 yards on 13 carries. The Millers had three different B backs carry the ball for a total of 269 yards on 33 rushes.
The defense held Norman North to 215 yards of offense and Deer Creek to 250 the week before and has gained confidence. But, Norman will be the best offense the team has seen in their first four games.
“Norman has only played one game so we don’t have a lot of go off on,” Reed said. “They have seen us in three games and that will be a disadvantage. We have the advantage of having played in three games, but when it kicks off and by the end of the first quarter it is going to be like any other game for both teams.
“We need to go out and do what we do on offense and hold onto the ball,” he said. “We need to keep our nose down in practice and keep getting better on both sides of the ball.”