Knights to host Holdenville tonight in 2A-5 action

Henryetta head football coach Darin Johnson, left, talks to an official during last Friday night’s District 2A-5 opener at Haskell. Johnson and the Knights will look for their second district win tonight when Henryetta plays host to the Holdenville Wolverines at 7 p.m. at historic Cameron Field.

(Photo provided)

By LARRY OWEN
Free-Lance Sports Editor

The Henryetta Golden Knights began district play last Friday against Haskell, coming away with a 40-26 victory to snap an 8-game losing streak and garner their first win of 2017.

The Knights will look for their second-straight district win tonight when they play host to the Holdenville Wolverines.

In other county action tonight, one Okmulgee County high school football team will secure their first district win of 2017 when the Okmulgee Bulldogs play host to the Morris Eagles. Tonight's county showdown is scheduled to get started at 7 p.m. at historic Harmon Field in Okmulgee.

Prior to the county football game, Okmulgee Public Schools will crown its All-Sports Homecoming Queen for 2017-18 in a special coronation ceremony at 6 p.m.

Both Okmulgee and Morris enter tonight's contest with identical 0-2 district records. The Bulldogs have suffered district losses to Cushing and Checotah in back-to-back games, while the Eagles have fallen to Checotah and Beggs, respectively, in their two district contests this season.

The last time these two county squads met in Okmulgee was in 2015 when the Eagles blanked the Bulldogs 30-0. Okmulgee won last year's meeting in Morris by a 36-14 margin.

The Beggs Golden Demons, who earned their first district win of 2017 last Friday with a 46-10 victory over Morris, will look to continue their district winning streak tonight with a trip to Kellyville and a showdown with the Kellyville Ponies. Kellyville is currently 0-1 in 3A-6 action after suffering a 42-16 loss to Bristow on September 22.

The only other county team in action this week is the Wilson Tigers, who will travel to Claremore for a showdown with the Claremore Christian Warriors. The Tigers will be looking to get back to putting up points on the scoreboard after being shutout for the first time in 2017 last week in a 48-0 loss to Wesleyan Christian. In last year's meeting, the Wilson squad suffered a 48-0 loss to Claremore Christian and was the last time that the Tigers failed to score any points in a game until last Friday in Bartlesville.

The Dewar Dragons were scheduled to begin district play tonight at home against Haileyville, but that contest was canceled prior to the start of the 2017 season after Haileyville administrators decided to drop their football program for the 2017-18 school year. With the cancellation, the Dragons will use the 'Bye Week' to get better prepared for next Thursday's district battle with the Wetumka Chieftains at Dr. Ted Lewis Stadium in Dewar.

Here are how the county teams fared in Week 5:
• Okmulgee dropped a District 3A-6 battle Checotah in overtime, 28-27.
• Beggs defeated Morris 46-10 in county action in Beggs.
• Henryetta notched its first win of 2017 with a 40-26 victory over Haskell.
• Dewar fell to Davenport 44-42 at home.
• Wilson dropped a 48-0 decision to Wesleyan Christian.
Below  are the offensive and defensive keys to the game for the five Okmulgee County teams that are competing in Week 6.
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Henryetta vs Holdenville
Henryetta Offensive Keys

The Knights recorded their best offensive performance of 2017 in last week's win over Haskell. In the 14-point victory, the Henryetta squad totaled 472 yards of total offense, including a season-best 300 yards rushing. If the Knights are to continue their district winning streak this week, they will need to have another productive night offensively. The Henryetta offense will need to find ways to get the ball into the hands of senior tailback Avery Moore, who has had two of his best rushing games against the Wolverines, rushing for 213 yards in 2015 and a career-best 252 yards in last year's 36-30 win. The Knights will also need another productive running game from senior Seth Munoz, who led the Henryetta rushing performance with 186 yards on 14 carries and 3 TDs. The offensive line will also need to allow time in the pocket for senior quarterback Jarett Day to find an open receiver in the passing game. If Day is allowed time to find receivers downfield, it could very well lead to scoring chances and another win over a very talented Holdenville squad.
Henryetta Defensive Keys
The Knights will need to find a way to contain senior quarterback Jarred Miner (6-11, 180). Miner is a dual threat as the signal caller for the Wolverines and is a run-first type of quarterback, rushing for 739 yards on 128 carries and 7 TDs, while completing 5 of 10 passes for 198 yards and 3 TDs. The Henryetta defense will need to find a way to keep Miner in the backfield and not allow the talented quarterback a chance to run with the football. The Knights need to force Miner to throw the football more than he is used to doing, forcing errant passes that either result in incomplete passes or interceptions. The other three running threats for the Wolverines are D.Q. Olden (5-7, 130, So.), Joshua Nalley (6-0, 167, Sr.), and Chase Gibbs (5-9, 175, Jr.). Olden has 143 yards rushing this season on 10 carries, while Gibbs is second on the team in rushing behind Miner with 144 yards on 46 carries. Nalley is fourth in the rushing department for Holdenville with 135 yards on 13 carries. If the Knights can slow down the Wolverines' run game and force more passes, it could lead to another district win for the Henryetta squad, as they search for their third-straight postseason appearance.
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Wilson at Claremore Christian
Wilson Offensive Keys

The main goal for the Tigers on offense this week will be to get the passing game back on track. Last week, the Wilson offense completed only two passes for a total of 55 yards. In the first five games this season, the Tigers averaged 170.8 yards per game through the air, which included a season-best 303 yards two weeks ago against Olive. The Tigers will also need to find a way to sprinkle in a few run plays this week to keep the Claremore Christian defense off-balance. The Wilson offense will need to continue to take care of the football this week and not allow turnovers or costly penalties to take away scoring chances.
Wilson Defensive Keys
The Wilson defense must find a way to force the Warrior ballcarriers to the middle of the line of scrimmage and not allow Claremore Christian the chance to get to the outside. If the Warriors are allowed to the outside of the tackle boxes, it could lead to a very long night defensively for the Tiger defense. Claremore Christian will use a balanced offensive attack, which means that the Tigers will need to stay disciplined on defense and not be out of alignment. The Wilson defenders will also need to make tackles when they first come in contact with a Warrior ballcarrier and limit the Claremore Christian offense to short gains. The Tigers will also need to create turnovers and punting situations if they hope to keep the Warrior offense off the field as much as possible.
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Okmulgee vs Morris
Okmulgee Offensive Keys
The Bulldogs will need to get back to running a balanced offense this week if they have any chances of avoiding their first 3-game losing streak since losing the final three games of the 2015 season. The main goal this week is for the offensive line to do a better job of keeping the Morris defense out of the backfield and keeping quarterback Jacob Barrett upright this week. The Bulldogs will also need more production from Barrett and the other offensive playmakers this week if they hope to get their first district win of 2017. In last week's loss to Checotah, the Okmulgee offense only turned the ball one time and will need to continue to take care of the football this week, while also cutting down on the penalties that take away scoring chances. Last week, the Bulldogs had three touchdowns erased by penalties in a game that was decided by one point in overtime.
Okmulgee Defensive Keys
The main goal for the Okmulgee defense this week will be to find a way to contain Morris senior tailback Logan Stacy. Stacy is a very dangerous runner if not stopped at the line of scrimmage, as has been proven in the past three weeks, as the Eagle running back has totaled 628 yards on the ground, including a season-best 247-yard performance two weeks ago against Checotah. Stacy is not only a threat running the football, but can also line up at the wide receiver position, as well as make catches out of the backfield. The Bulldog defenders will need to know where No. 5 for Morris is lined up at all times. Another goal for the Okmulgee defense this week will be to get into the backfield and disrupt the rhythm of quarterback Cody Smith, forcing errant passes by the senior signal caller. Last week, the Bulldogs intercepted Checotah QB Cade Shropshire three times, including once late in the fourth quarter. If the Okmulgee defense can create turnovers this week, it could very well result in the Bulldogs coming away with their first district win of the season.
Morris Offensive Keys
The main goal for the Eagles this week will be to play clock management. If the Morris offense can find a way to control the tempo of the game and keep the high-powered Okmulgee offense off the field as much as possible, it could very well lead to Morris earning its second-straight win over the Bulldogs in Okmulgee. The Eagles will also need production from other offensive playmakers this week, taking some of the workload off the shoulders of senior tailback Logan Stacy. The Eagles will need to keep the Okmulgee defense off-balance as much as possible this week and move the ball down the field effectively. The Morris offensive line will need to find ways to keep the aggressive Okmulgee defenders out of the backfield this week and allow senior quarterback Cody Smith time in the pocket to find open receivers downfield. The Eagles will also need to take care of the football this week and not have turnovers or penalties take away scoring opportunities in this all-important district contest.
Morris Defensive Keys
The main focus for the Morris defense this week will be to find a way to slow down the Bulldogs' high-powered offensive attack that begins with sophomore Jacob Barrett. Barrett is a dual threat at quarterback and can create problems for the Eagle defense if not contained to the line of scrimmage. If Barrett has time to search for receivers downfield or is allowed to get into the open on a run play, it could be a very long night defensively for the Eagles. Other Okmulgee athletes that the Morris defense will need to try and slow down this week are running backs Greg Jones, Tavon Henderson, and Kenny Scott and wide receivers Jaden Skinner and Trivion Skinner, as well as Keishawn Gardner, Josiah Padfield, and Kethan Harjo. The Morris defense cannot allow the speedy Skinners to get their hands of the football, as they are capable of turning a short pass play into lengthy touchdowns. The Eagles will need to create turnovers that get the Okmulgee offense off the field as much as possible.
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Beggs at Kellyville
Beggs Offensive Keys

The Demons will need to find a way to get their passing game going early in the contest and not allow the Ponies to make it a close contest. The Beggs offensive line will need to allow quarterback Dalton Spring the opportunity to find receivers downfield, while also opening up running lanes for the running game, which features running backs Jared Sutter, Kayson Toliver, and C.J. McCall. The Demons need to take care of the football this week and not allow scoring chances to be taken away due to turnovers. The Beggs offense must also eliminate costly penalties that take away touchdowns. The Demons had two scores in the second quarter erased last week because of penalties. The Beggs offense will also need to move the ball down the field with effectiveness this week if the Demons have any hopes of remaining unbeaten in district play.
Beggs Defensive Keys
The Beggs defense will need to find ways to slow down Kellyville's run game that features junior running backs Hayden Hutchison (5-11, 185) and Dillon Pickering (5-8, 160). New head coach Brent Scott will utilize the talents of his two running backs and fullback Carson Beam (6-3, 190, Jr.) in his Wing-T offense. If the Demons can find ways to slow down the Pony running attack and force the Kellyville offense to rely heavily on passing the football, it could very well result in the Beggs squad walking away with their second-straight district win. The Beggs defense will need to find ways to create turnovers that take away scoring opportunities and give the ball back to the high-powered Beggs offense.

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