Millers face 6AII No. 2 Pioneers

Kyree Dawkins (4) and Grayson Dinh reach for a deflected ball on an interception attempt against Westmoore. The Millers travel to Stillwater Friday. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

By Chuck Reherman
Sports Editor
The second week of the season may just be an interesting one for Yukon’s Miller football team.
The Millers, 0-1, will play their first Friday night game of the season as the team goes back on the road, this time to Stillwater to take on the 6AII No. 2 ranked Pioneers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m..
The teams have not played a game since the 2012 season 9 YHS has been to scrimmages at Stillwater including last year) and the Millers do own a two-game win streak over the Pioneers.
Yukon faces a different style team this week with the Pioneers, who are led by Gage Gundy, the son of OSU head coach Mike Gundy, and a Division I prospect. And, while the Pioneers have a penchant to put the ball in the air, the team does have an effective running game.
Stillwater enters the contest with a 1-0 record after a win over Greenwood, AR., in zero week. The Pioneers had an open date giving them two weeks to prepare for the Millers.
“As usual, Stillwater has a good team,” Miller head coach Marshall Hahn said. “Traditionally Greenwood has a good team and Stillwater was able to beat them. They are a physical team and play hard, defense runs to the ball and the quarterback throws the ball well and he has a couple of good receivers that will present a challenge.
“They will come out in the spread offense and find different ways to get people the ball,” he said. “They run some jet sweep some with the receivers they have and they do have a couple of good runningbacks. Like a lot of spread teams they use their short passing game like it is a running game.”

Zain Samara fights through a blocker to try and tackle Westmoore’s Xavier Simpkins as Grayson Dinh comes over to help. (Photo by Chuck Reherman)

The Millers are looking to regroup after a 30-7 loss to Westmoore in the season opener last Thursday. In that game, YHS lost both its starting runningbacks in the first quarter, causing the team to scramble their offense.
Both runningbacks are day to day and one or both could be ready for Friday.
“You always look for big growth from week one to week two and hopefully we will see that in our kids,” he said. “When we watched the game film with them last Friday, a lot of things that we did well we might have missed by half a count or our eyes weren’t quite right to see what we needed to see. Hopefully we can make those corrections.
“When you lose two runningbacks on the 10th and 11th plays of the game, it causes you to scramble a little bit,” he said. “The kids that came in and filled in did a good job, it was just that the game planning got pushed to the side for a little while when you have those things that happened. You never want someone to get injured obviously, but there are two ways to look at it, you can mope and be sad it happened or you can say what an opportunity we have in week one to make some adjustments for some other kids to get some opportunities to allow the coaching staff to see kids in a different light and help us to be better equipped as the year goes along. Injuries are a part of football.”
The Millers did struggle for a time of offense last week before the adjustments kicked in. Yukon scored their lone touchdown in the second half and had other opportunities against the Jaguars.
Yukon will face a Stillwater defense that allowed 27 points (a 41-27 win) to Greenwood in its opener, but will have two weeks to correct their mistakes before playing the Millers.
The Millers will also be looking for their defense to show improvement this week.
“We have to get the call, get lined up and tackle,” Hahn said. “We need to get a lot of guys around the ball. We did a good job of tackling last week, we just got tired because the defense was having to take too many snaps. We can’t let have the pre-snap advantage on us.
“We look to see that tackling get even better this week,” he said. “That is what you expect in week two, just like you expect it to improve week two to week three.
“We know a lot of their game is push passes to their receivers and runningbacks and we have to be ready for those,” he said. “Their defense is a little unorthodox and we have to be patient on offense. They may have success at time, but they have given up big plays.”