By Chuck Reherman
Yukon has done something it has not done since the OSSAA split class 6A into two divisions.
Win their first two district games.
But, they did it in a somewhat ugly way.
Yukon used the big play and scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to post a 42-24 win over Enid on homecoming night, Friday at Miller Stadium.
The Millers, 2-0 in District 6A-2, improved to 3-1 on the season, their second best under head coach Jeremy Reed. YHS went on to finish 6-4 that year (2018) but missed the playoffs, finishing fifth in the district.
It was a game that saw the Millers look like they were going to do to Enid what YHS done in the first two meetings, roll to lopsided wins after jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than six minutes into the opening quarter. But, Enid did fight their way back to with 14-10 before the Millers did take control of the game with a pair of second quarter touchdowns, 28-10.
“We have a lot of things to work on this week,” Reed said. “It is nice to see a two under the W column after the first two district games,” Reed said. “We are getting closer to a magic type number of victories needed to get into the playoffs. It is good to be 2-0, I don’t think we have been 2-0 since we have been here, but now we have everything we want to achieve right in front of us.
“I had sensed this all week and felt it coming, so it was one of those games that we were glad to get out of the way,” Reed added. “We beat them 61-7 last year and 54-0 the year before that and you look at the film and you see same kids, I tried to tell our players all week that Enid is a much better team and I still believe that, especially offensively. Their kids fought way harder like I said they would being 2-1 instead of 0-8 like when we played them last year. And, Enid did have a good game plan and they executed well.
“Offensively we did well except for drive right after the half, so I was happy with that,” he said. “Enid was intent on taking away the B-gap to B-gap type of stuff so we were able to get on the perimeter and utilize the speed and edge blocking. Plus, they were very big on the front line and at times we had trouble moving them.”
The Millers utilized that speed early on, scoring on their second play from scrimmage. Makari Slaughter took the pitch on an option play and sped past the defense on a 58-yard touchdown run just two and half minutes into the game.
YHS also used the passing game a little more also wen Brayden Dutton connected on a 36-yard pass play to Colton Phinney on their second play of the second possession. That came after Dutton opened the drive with a 16-yard run.
Chaz Bradley, who returned to the line-up after missing the first part of the year with an injury, scored on an 11-yard that gave the Millers a 14-0 lead with 6:32 remaining in the opening quarter.
“Chaz started in the secondary for us last year as a freshman and we moved him to offense this year,” Reed said. “We had a pretty bad injury this summer away from football and just now got him back into football. He has a lot of athletic ability and potential, but he is a player that has to be brought along.
“We are excited to get him back and getting him going, especially after losing Caden (Hernandez)” Reed added. “He gives us some more speed out there and we need to get him up to speed.”
Enid, after not moving the ball very well in the first half of the game, did not let the Millers have the ball the remainder of the quarter and made the contest close. The Plainsmen cut the lead to 14-3 on a 27-yard Andreas Alatorre field goal and after recovering an onside kick, Johnny Villa ran 13 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-10 40 seconds into the second quarter.
Enid again tried an onside kick, but the ball went out of bounds to give possession to YHS.
“Would you believe we worked on onsides kicks literally all week. Because I don’t believe it. It wasn’t a surprise, they have done that all year.
“I thought we played our worst game of the year on defense, we played with a lack of energy and didn’t run to the ball very well,” he said. “It was a complete opposite of last week. I thought we played our best defensive game last week (against Norman). I don’t really have an answer or why, but I can promise you it will talked about a lot this week.”
The Millers did get things back into control of their next possession, scoring on a 23-yard Dutton to Bradley touchdown pass with 8:10 left in the half. Travon Ware helped set up the score with a 17-yard run.
On their fourth possession of the night, the Millers kept their scoring to possession perfect as Logan Grulkey scored on a two-yard run to cap a 69-yard drive on nine plays. Slaughter, who rushed for a season high 189-yards on only five carries, set up the score on a 35-yard run.
Enid did get within 28-17 in the third quarter, but the onside attempt went further than expected the YHS recovered.
The Millers turned that into a 12-play, 58-yard drive with Tristan Brooke going the final two yards for the touchdown that basically put the game away at 35-17.
Slaughter had his longest run of the season late in the game, an 18-yard touchdown run to open a 42-17 lead with 4:21 remaining.
“Our defense did have some big plays,” Reed said. “Holding Enid to a field goal early in the game when the ball was inside the two-yard line was big. Granted, the expectations right now are a little higher than they have been. You look up and its 42-17 and there wasn’t a lot of positivity from the coaching staff, because we saw some glaring issues that hasn’t been that way. When the expectation and standard has been raised because you are winning, you get to a point where you have to step back and look at things.
“It was good to be back home and get that first win at home,” he said. “It nice to not have to get on seven buses and carry do the stuff we have been having to do. We will go back on the road for a crucial game in Edmond.”
The Millers will travel to Santa Fe on Friday night to take on the Wolves in a key 6A-2 game.