By Chuck Reherman
For Yukon and the playoffs, its “win or go home” time.
The Millers still have a shot at the playoffs, but will need to come away with a win Friday night when YHS travels to Norman to face the Tigers in a crucial District 6AI-2 contest. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Harve Collins Stadium.
The Millers, 1-7 are 0-5 in the district race, but with the expanded playoffs (the top six teams in each district advance to the playoffs), Yukon still has a chance at the post season.
The Millers have to win Friday night and again the next week against Edmond Santa Fe to make it happen.
Norman comes into the game with a 2-6 record, but are 2-3 in the district. The Tigers lost to Mustang 49-10 last week.
“Our backs are against the wall, but we still have a chance to make the playoffs,” Miller head coach Marshall Hahn said. “This late in the season, the process of preparation for a game is the same, you have to be mentally ready, recognize their formations and understand their tendencies on defense. Offensively, we need to understand how they have shown on film how they are going to align to make our blocking calls.
“We are trying to make sure in practices to keep the players legs under them,” he said. “We will get mentally prepared and be ready for Friday.”
Norman has been an up and down team all season. The Tigers pulled off a 38-34 win over Memorial and played Tulsa Union to within two touchdowns. But, the team also had to score late to escape a loss to a winless Santa Fe 20-17.
“They have that same quarterback back from last year and he is a pretty dynamic player,” Hahn said. “They will move him around to runningback and receiver to get him the ball in different ways. A lot of their offense goes through him. He is one of those guys you have to make sure you know where he is and be able to get him down.
“Defensively, they are aggressive with their front line,” he added. “They try to get up the field and get after you and we will have to try and meet that speed and hold the line of scrimmage. We have to make sure we are physical on the perimeter an turn some of those six or seven yard runs into bigger gains.
“We have to finish drives, that is the bottom line. That is something that we are focusing on this week. We have to find ways to make those explosive plays finish in the end zone, or be able to finish drives where we put some plays together. We have struggled in that area the last couple of weeks. We get knocking on the door and come away without points. It’s something we have to get fixed and not press so much that it exacerbates the problem. We have to stay focused, stay calm, be detail oriented and not late a mistake affect us to or three plays down the road.”
Norman’s offense is built around quarterback Tias McClarty. He likes to keep the ball on option plays, on bootlegs and we will take off after dropping back for a pass.
Xavier Shackleford and \ Alexander give the Tigers a one-two punch in the running game.
The Millers are looking to get their offense turned around this week.
“We have to eliminate the mistakes that are in our control,” Hahn said. “That should help us get over the hump and be able to finish drives. That will be the key on offense for us this week.
“This is a great opportunity for us this week to get back into the race and we have to make the most out of it,” Hahn said.