The Duncan Banner
Marlow Outlaw fans grow up hearing the story of the five Marlow brothers and how just a few men defied adversity in the hardest of times.
This season, those fans are getting to see a different group of brothers carry the Marlow football program to new heights.
Though they aren’t biological brothers, seniors Trey Coffman, Kagan Blackburn, Kelby Richardson and sophomore Braeden O’Dell are four main cogs in a Marlow team that churned out a winning season for the first time since 2007.
“We’re not where we need to be yet, but they are the ones who are laying the foundation,” coach Rob Renshaw and the fifth brother said. “Really, it’s about attitude and effort and their attitude has been great and their effort has been great.”
The five sons of Dr. Marlow, for whom the town is named, were Boone, George, Alfred, Charles and Lewellyn. Late in August of 1888, four were arrested by two deputy U.S. Marshals despite no evidence warranting the arrest. While they were moved from one jail to another, their entourage was ambushed by a mob, and the four brothers fought until their last breath.
The Marlow Chamber of Commerce has a quote on its website from the judge who presided over the following mob trial. It reads:
“This is the first time in the annals of history where unarmed prisoners, shackled together, ever repelled a mob. Such cool courage that preferred to fight against such odds and die, if at all in glorious battle rather than die ignominiously by a frenzied mob, deserves to be commemorated in song and story.”
Back to the future, in 2011 Coffman and Blackburn watched their team fall to a disappointing 1-9, despite six losses by a single-digit margin.
“It’s not very fun when you get beat,” Blackburn said. “There was like one game, I think, that we lost by more than one or two touchdowns. It was all in the fourth quarter.”
They rebounded their junior year being joined by Richardson, who moved from Pittsburgh, and new coach Renshaw, who like the fifth brother doesn’t take part in the daily ambush the football team goes through, but deserves his place in history. They finish 4-7 and lose in the first round of the playoffs.
To start 2013 they face an ambush like season with reigning state champ Blanchard, Tuttle, Jones, Lone Grove and Kingfisher all ready to pounce on the Outlaws.
“We’re a lot like them if you put it that way,” Coffman said. “I was hoping we were going to try to do something special this year, try to do something good. Putting it like the Outlaw brothers in the ambush, we’re just trying to live our life, trying to play hard and living week by week.”
With O’Dell’s addition at the beginning of the season, the players have seized their individual roles. Being the starting quarterback against that gauntlet of teams hasn’t been an easy adjustment, even with all of the weapons he has had, O’Dell said.
“It’s pretty overwhelming,” O’Dell said. “I got scared a lot. I’m a sophomore. The next two years I’m sure it won’t happen, but I’m still young.”
In the heat of battle, the Outlaws lost Richardson, the top receiver, to an arm injury. He was out for the game against Blanchard, but made his return against Tuttle. Then, in a game to lock up the final playoff spot in the district, Richardson scored the first touchdown in the 55-0 rout against Bridge Creek.
“I thought I would be right back out there,” Richardson said. “I didn’t think it would be this long. It felt great (getting that touchdown). It felt like I hadn’t been gone.”
As Renshaw prepares for the final regular season game against undefeated Kingfisher, he gives little thought to the Outlaw comparison. His thoughts revolve around strategy and how his team will fare against the tough competition Friday and in the playoffs. He shrugs off the tough schedule saying it is the same schedule they played last year.
The team’s first round playoff opponent, Seminole, will be the same as well. Last year, Marlow lost 59-7. This year, the five brothers will try to lay one last piece to that foundation, before three ride off into the sunset of their future.