The Duncan Banner

October 31, 2013

Coffman, Blackburn share in Outlaws’ success

John McKelvey
The Duncan Banner

MARLOW — Win and they’re in.

That’s the message for the Outlaws as they take on last-place Bridge Creek. Marlow dominated Little Axe last Friday in a 55-21 victory. Both senior rushers, Trey Coffman and Kagan Blackburn, gained more than 100 yards on the ground each. While the two teams are on opposite ends of the playoff spectrum, the Outlaws (5-3, 2-3) won’t be taking the Bobcats (1-6, 0-4) lightly. A large part of the win against Little Axe was the turnovers created by Logan Knox in the first quarter.

Avoiding and forcing turnovers has been a strength for the Outlaws this season. The team is plus-17 in the turnover margin this week and needs to continue to do well. Blackburn and Coffman’s limited fumbles has led to this success, said Rob  Renshaw. Knox sees this as the way for Marlow to beat some of the higher-ranked teams. He put it in simple terms.

“Getting turnovers will help you against any good team,” Knox said. “As long as you have the ball, you can score. If they don’t have the ball, they can’t score.”

Turnovers may help the Outlaws capture a victory against the Bobcats — the outcome they need to get into the Class 3A playoffs.

“We have to win the game,” Renshaw said before Wednesday’s practice. “They’re going to play hard. You can’t turn the ball over and give them any hope.”

Marlow jumped on Little Axe early when Knox returned an interception for a touchdown. It was a play that he knows the team will need more of, if it wants to beat the top-ranked teams in Class 3A. It just so happens that two of those teams are Blanchard and Tuttle, the first and second-place teams in Marlow’s district.

Coffman said he does think about how some of the toughest competition is in their own district.

“We probably have got one of the hardest districts in the state,” Coffman said. “We can hang with them, but it’s just a difficult district.”

With the district realignment next year, Marlow will welcome six new teams to compete with, but with a playoff spot on the line Friday, Renshaw said his team can’t look ahead.

“We’ve got to win to get in, because once you get in, anything can happen,” Renshaw said. “Everybody you play is going to be good. So your level of play has to get better every week.”

Splitting carries to give Coffman and Blackburn some time off has helped further that improvement, Renshaw said. They both play on both sides of the ball, and it’s not easy getting them a breather.

“Neither one of them is coming off the field on defense,” Renshaw said. “So it gives an opportunity for one of them to get a little bit of a break.”