By Chuck Reherman
Yukon continues its run through the toughest part of the District 6A-1 schedule.
The Millers will head east on Friday to take on district co-leader Jenks at 7 p.m. in Jenks,
The Millers, 4-3 overall and 2-2 in the district will be looking to end a long losing skid to the Trojans. YHS has not beaten Jenks since the teams were assigned to the same district (they had met only once previously in the 1997 state championship game won by the Trojans). The Millers will be looking to change that on Friday night, but know they have a challenge in front of them.
The Millers come into the game after a heartbreaking 27-22 loss to Broken Arrow last week. Jenks, 2-0 in district and 4-1 overall, had their game with Edmond Santa Fe postponed to this Monday after the Trojans had eight coaches and a handful of players quarantined for Covid-19. YHS head coach Jeremy Reed expects the Trojans to be at full strength for the game Friday night, while the Millers will be missing some players.
“Jenks is a very sound and very disciplined team, it will definitely be a challenge Friday night,” Reed said. “They have size and speed and all the things that a good football team has.
“We have to continue to get better as a team,” Reed said. “We felt we got better last week on defense and that played a big role. Offensively we just need to keep improving on what we have been doing. We have to get better every week because in this district there is no rest.
“We have to win two of our next three games to ensure ourselves of a playoff spot. It will be ideal to win all three and that it what we are positioning ourselves for.”
The Trojans’ last win was a 42-13 victory over Norman and the team did rally to beat Broken Arrow 38-30 after trailing by two touchdowns in that game. The Trojans also own a 28-0 win over Tulsa Union and their only loss came at the hands of class 6AII No. 1 ranked Bixby.
Jenks does return their quarterback Stephen Kittleman, who had a big night against the Millers last year. Runningback Grant Lohr also gave the Millers problems last year bringing him down.
The Trojans also have an experienced front line returning with left tackle Logan Nobles (6-7, 280), an OSU commitment. Jenks also has an experienced wide receiver in Jayden Patrick back and receivers Ty Walls, Glenver Jones and Jalyn Stanford give the team scoring threats through the air.
On defense, nose tackle AJ Brown (6-1, 300) and Chase Jackson anchor the front line and linebacker Tyson Ward is one of the teams leading tacklers.
“Jenks is more of a run first team, but they can throw the ball all over the yard,” Reed said. “We have to continue to run to the football. The biggest thing last Thursday night was the number of kids that were running to the football every play and it saved us some big runs that could have been touchdowns. That is the key for us, more gang tackling and playing with great fundamental intensity with what we need to do.
“Even though they didn’t get to play last week, we fully expect about every player, like the last two teams we have played, will have everyone of their starters,” he said. “That is the mindset we have to take into the game.”
The Millers have gone into their last two games missing as many as six starters and Reed is hoping to be closer to full strength this week.
“We would love to have everyone of our players back,” he said. “It’s probably not going to happen, but we have to continue to play with each obstacle that has been thrown our way. Our kids have done a really good job with that. We have had multiple kids out several weeks in a row and we have competed very well. But, it is another one of those things that is out of our control.
“You never even know from day to day what is going to happen and it is not a fun position to be in for our staff,” he said. “We have had to learn to roll with the punches and there have been a lot of punches thrown.”
The Miller offense, who at times had four starting offensive linemen out, have moved the ball well. The team will face a Jenks defense that may be the toughest they have seen this season.
“Jenks is a well rounded defense and always plays very tough,” Reed said. “They have several starters back from last year, run to the ball very well and always plays us very tough. They are not as big as in the past, but every one we play is bigger.”
“We felt like we have gotten over the hurdle of playing teams like Broken Arrow and we have still have a hurdle we have to get over with Jenks. We will see.”