By Chuck Reherman
The class 6A playoffs for Yukon will start out the same way as the beginning of the season.
With Bedlam time. But, this time the Millers will be looking for a different outcome.
Yukon hosts Mustang in the opening round of the class 6AI playoffs Friday at Miller Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.
All tickets for the contest must be purchased online. There will be no tickets available at the gate. Tickets will be available online, until the allotment is sold out. Purchase the tickets on line at Yukonps.com.
The game will also be an honor to veterans and the first 100 military IDs will allow the ID holder and one guest into the game. Also, the first 200 OSSAA Playoff passes will be allowed in.
This is the first year since 2013 that the Millers have advanced to the playoffs. YHS went five years in a row (from 2009-13), but lost all five games. This team is looking to end that mark and get a playoff win for the first time since 1997.
The Millers, 6-4, will face a 4-6 Mustang team that did win the first meeting between the teams, 35-21 back on September. But, the Millers have improved since that first game and Mustang has struggled.
The Broncos finished tied for fifth in District 6AI-2 after losing 51-21 to Moore in their regular season finale. The Broncos, though, were ranked higher by the district coaches and received the fifth place bid. MHS lost their final three games of the season.
“We get to play the week 11 game in the same place and the same team as we did in week one, it is a pretty unique situation,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “We met with the players and they seem very excited and know it is a rare opportunity to get to play a team again that beat you early in the season. The amount of motivation is pretty high, you don’t have to do a lot of motivating as a coach in a situation like this.
“We will be missing some players that we had the first week,” he said. “The biggest difference is our offense doesn’t look like it did that first week, we have lost some key people on the way. Our defense is pretty much the same minus one, so I would say the difference is more related to the offense. But, that is the situation we have been in all season. So, it is note a real high concern because it is something we have dealt with since week three.”
The Millers have started a different backfield seemingly every week since week three due to injuries and to quarantines. The group that played last week rolled up over 400 yards rushing against Edmond Memorial and Reed said he has confidence that all his backs can step in and do what is needed.
The Miller defense, though, has been intact most of the season except for one week and that side of the ball has improved since the start of the season.
“We are hoping the improvements we have made on defense will help us a lot,” Reed said. “It was obvious that we had a brand new scheme and new players, so there were a couple of things that compounded it to not be so good. That was one aspect, the other was Mustang played a flawless game, no balls on the ground and few penalties.
“We feel like we are in a much better position defensively today than we were back in December,” he added.
Since this group has not been to the playoffs in their career, Reed and his staff will be looking to keep the team on an even keel going into the game and especially since it is Mustang.
“It has to be a gradual process through out the week,” Reed said. “You don’t want to be extremely high and pumped up on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from an emotional standpoint, you want to peak on a Friday night. The thing that helps us is how we go about business every week. It doesn’t matter what the game has been like through the years, it has been a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday practice mentality then we get to Friday. So hopefully, the practice routine will help us.”
The Miller defense will have to key on Mustang runningback Dominique Dunn, who gave the team fits in that first meeting. MHS line Dunn up at quarterback, runningback and even a slot position in getting him the ball. Another key player the Millers will have to concentrate on is Jacoby Johnson in the backfield.
“We expect that Mustang will come out and run the same thing on offense they did in that first game,” Reed said. “The Dunn kid has had a great season and I would expect to see the exact same scenario to start the game. I don’t see them do anything different and we will have to be ready for it.”