By Chuck Reherman
The annual Canadian County Bedlam Battle will take on a “new importance” when the teams meet Friday night.
The game has always been for bragging rights of the county, but will now have more meaning.
For the first time ever, Yukon and Mustang will meet in a district game and the teams will open the 6AI-2 slate Friday in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Miller Stadium.
The Millers, 1-2 and winners of their last game, will be looking to end a three-game losing streak to the Broncos, 2-1. Yukon’s last win came in 20-18 a 19-14 win on the Millers’ home field.
The game is one where records are thrown out and the team that gains the momentum and makes the fewest mistakes comes out on top.
“This is a big week,” Miller head coach Marshall Hahn said. “The kids are excited, the coaches are excited and the community get excited, so it should be a fun week.
“District games have a little more importance and I don’t know if that is good or bad,” he said. “District games determines who makes the playoffs and seedings as well, so there is a little added spice this year.
“In my limited time of being around this game, there is a little less buildup, but that buildup will increase as the week goes on and it gets really intense. There are some things on the calender that has changed it this year, but once we got up Saturday morning, all of our attention has been turned toward Mustang. One thing, we do have actual tape of games from this year instead of from the year before so it does make preparation a little different.” Mustang comes into the game off a 41-13 rout of Springdale AR. Har-Ber and beat Southmoore 57-26 in their opener. The only loss for the Broncos came at the hands of 6AII No. 1 ranked Edmond Deer Creek 24-21.
Both teams come into the game featuring run-heavy offensive attacks. The Broncos rushed for 289 yards in their win over Har-Ber, while the Millers ran for 440 yards in their win over Norman North.
The Broncos use a variety of backs led by Pryce Burgess and Jay Bedford. Quarterback Tristan Russell will also run the ball and can drop back and throw the ball when needed. He had a pair of touchdown passes last week.
Jacobe Johnson, who recently committed to the University of Oklahoma and Keegan Bass, who committed to the Air Force Academy are his primary targets in the pass game.
“Mustang is physical, they have a defensive line that is impressive and have good linebackers,” Hahn said. ‘Everyone is familiar with the Johnson kid, he is superb talent and they have him on the defensive side at cornerback, but he will also play offense. They are a solid team.
“People probably thinks I am a broken record because every week it is kind of the same message,” he said. “But, there are a lot of good football teams in 6AI and a lot of good football players. The challenge is the same every week and you have to bring your A game, the difference is trying to find the one or two wrinkles to get that advantage.
“They have talented runningbacks and would like to run the ball, but they have good receivers, as good as anyone we have seen. If you commit to trying to stop the run and they will try and take advantage of that if you over commit. It is the same recipe, get aligned properly, a lot of big play happen on defense when you get mis-aligned, we have to get aligned right, play with confidence and play fast and make sure we are pursuing to the football. I thought we did a really good job of that last week and we need to continue to do that.”
The Bronco defense will also be tested by the Miller running game. Both Logan Day and Jesse Eakers ran for over 100 yards last week and quarterback Logan Troxell also had over 100 yards combined rushing and passing.
“Our key will be to go out and execute well,” Hahn said. “We haven’t done that very well in the last couple of seasons and we need to execute to the best of our ability.”