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In Marlow’s return to the playoffs for a second consecutive season, senior leadership lettered the roster.
The starting runningbacks/linebackers were seniors Kagan Blackburn and Trey Coffman. Senior Kelby Richardson was the top receiving threat. With all that experience sophomore quarterback Braeden O’Dell ran the offense. The effeciency with which he performed this task has earned him the 2013 Duncan Banner Newcomer of the Year Award.
The first thing coach Rob Renshaw pointed out about his young signal-caller was the rushing attack he helped coalesce. Marlow made it impossible their BCD’s (Blackburn, Coffman and O’Dell) as the trio ran the ball for a combined 2,439 yards. O’Dell only had 557 of those but did have close to seven yards per carry.
“You look at what we did from a rushing standpoint... I think that’s pretty good,” Renshaw said. “Having the threat of the quarterback running makes defenses have to play more honest.”
Not taking anything away from his rushing statistics, but in the games winding down the season, O’Dell started to become a weapon passing the ball. Sometimes the fall winds wouldn’t aid O’Dell, but with the return of Richardson in the final weeks, Renshaw used his quarterback to keep the defense off balance. The underclassman starter finished with 750 passing yards and nine touchdowns through the air. He also had a completion percentage of above 50.
He added another contribution on special teams. There are not many times the same player who catches the punts is kicking them, but O’Dell filled the roles exceptionally. He averaged more than 20 yards on punt returns and more than a few times, rolled a rugby punt inside the 20 yard line. During the playoff game against Seminole, O’Dell pinned the opponent inside the one-yard-line on a punt that resulted in a safety.
It was in facing those big teams, though, where it would seem a young player would get nervous. Renshaw knew this was the case but also knew this was how you became better.
“He will tell you that he was extraordinarily nervous the first game and you should be,” Renshaw said.
Marlow wins 61-21 against Lone Grove. O’Dell said he just didn’t want to let his seniors down.
“It’s something you get more comfortable with,” Renshaw said. “You just get used to it.”
O’Dell did and led the Outlaws against much more ferocious foes. The Outlaws were the only team to play all four of the 2012 3A division semifinalists, Blanchard, Tuttle, Kingfisher and Seminole. It was a brutal schedule.
“He never got that paralyzed and added a whole new element to our offense,” Renshaw said.
Ultimately, the offensive production under O’Dell was what Renshaw marveled at the most. He laughed a little as he pointed out he had never been part of a team that had scored 60 points before and the Outlaws did it twice. It was the first two games of the season, when O’Dell was just starting to fit into that newcomer role. It’s hard to imagine that anyone other than Renshaw and O’Dell knew he was nervous.