By Blake Colston
EDMOND – There are brighter days ahead for Yukon football, but Friday at Edmond Santa Fe the results weren’t pleasant.
The Wolves strengthened their playoff position at the expense of an injury-depleted Millers squad with a 54-28 victory over YHS in the regular season finale at Edmond Santa Fe High School.
With the loss, Yukon finishes the first season of the Brent Barnes era 1-9 overall and 0-7 in district play.
“I’ve gotten so many messages from other coaches throughout the year that say we’re doing a good job, and that they can see the improvement,” Barnes said earlier this week. “But, for us as competitors, we still wanted more (wins) than we came up with.”
Yukon earned a victory over defending 6A-2 champion Stillwater in week two but lost eight straight following that big win.
Friday night, the Millers were without starting quarterback Holden Kee, backup quarterback Carter Creach and starting running back Logan Day, who all missed the game due to injuries.
With Wyatt Jones making his first career start at quarterback, Yukon fell into a 27-0 hole by the 3:38-mark of the first quarter. Jones, a freshman, responded by leading a touchdown drive that was capped on a four-yard touchdown run from Destry Lujan 30 seconds into the second quarter that cut the deficit to 27-7.
Jones hit 9 of his first 17 passes for 96 yards and one interception. He ran for nine times for 35 yards.
After Santa Fe widened its lead to 37-7, Wolves quarterback Daniel Newton hit Ty Amos for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 2:44 remaining until half, one of Newton’s four touchdown throws in the first half.
University of Oklahoma commit Bergin Kysar added a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Yukon’s Kawika Burnett broke free for a 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and later added another short scoring scamper to give the Millers their ninth game of 20 points or more this season.
A year ago, Yukon averaged 12.7 points. That spiked to 27.4 this season in Barnes’ spread passing offense, which produced 6A-1’s leading receiver, Lucas Jones. Kee was second in the state in passing yards headed into Week 10.
“Offensively, the things we’ve done have shown how much we’ve improved,” Barnes said. “The defense has to go to work in the offseason.”
Yukon surrendered 52.8 points per game this season.
Barnes said the Millers will set out to get bigger, faster and stronger before the 2024 season kicks off next September.
“This will be the toughest offseason they’ve ever seen. We’re going to challenge them to make some real strides, and, to me, that started tonight,” Barnes said.