The Duncan Banner
Through six weeks of the 2012 high school football season, things have been anything but predictable for area high school teams.
Perhaps the team who has opened the most eyes has been the Empire Bulldogs, who have dashed out to an impressive 5-1 start including a 3-0 start in district play.
Along with the good run of form, Empire is also leading the way in some important categories across the county.
In six games this season, the Bulldogs have allowed an average of 11.5 points per game, which is tops among 11-man Stephens County high school teams. Offensively, Empire averages 33.6 points per game, second only to Central High.
With four games left in the regular season, EHS isn’t just looking for a home playoff game, but possibly a district championship.
“I’m very proud of the way these kids have played so far this season,” Empire coach Tony Roberts said. “We’ve accomplished a few things, but not everything we had set out at the beginning of the year. This team has come together and it’s been very special to watch. Our offensive and defensive lines have stepped up big for us, especially last week against Healdton, and against Rush Springs.”
A key component to the Bulldogs success has been the play of sophomore Dylan Twigg. Since filling in for starting quarterback Tanner Shorter at the beginning of the season, Twigg has shown he’s not just another player in uniform.
Along with his 688 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, Twigg has also thrown for 127 yards and three touchdowns. There’s also the small matter of his 114 yards receiving, to go with one more touchdown.
“Dylan said he wanted to be in that spot when Tanner went out injured,” Roberts said. “Not many guys want to be in his position, so it’s refreshing to see a player like that. He’s so versatile and can do so many things on the field for us.”
Empire will be at Wilson this Friday (7:30 p.m.) before a district showdown at home against Ringling next week.
Another team who has been in the spotlight frequently this season is the Central High Bronchos. Under the guidance of first-year head coach Darren Lamar, CHHS has gotten off to a solid 5-1 start to go with a 4-1 district record, with its lone loss coming against Paoli on the road.
“I like the fact we have taken care of business against the teams we should have,” Lamar said. “I’ve coached with some kids who wouldn’t have played like these guys do. We’re getting better defensively and I hope that continues the rest of the season.”
On the offensive side of the ball, business has been booming for the boys in blue and gold.
CHHS averages 52.8 points per game with Kevin Harris scoring 19 total touchdowns.
In addition Ashton Wright and Mikel Womack have scored five and six touchdowns respectively, with quarterback Kade Taylor contributing two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Bronchos have only allowed 22.7 points per game.
Along with his offensive explosion, Harris has run for 865 yards in six games this season. Taylor has thrown for 154 yards on 10 for 22 passing.
“Before the season, I had seen things in Kevin (Harris) that made me think he had potential,” Lamar said. “His play on both sides of the ball has been outstanding. He just continues to surprise me with his overall presence on the field.”
However, Harris and the rest of the Bronchos are going to be tested the last four weeks of the season.
Friday night will see Central High go up against district favorite and undefeated Fox on the road, followed by a home game against Alex. Two road games against Waurika and Cyril will determine if the Bronchos make the postseason.
At this point in the season last year, the Velma-Alma Comets were 1-5 with their playoff hopes looking slim.
Fast forward to this year, and V-A sits with a 3-3 record, along with a 2-1 district record.
However, while the Comets are in the thick of the playoff race, it’s been anything but a smooth road.
Against Wilson, starting quarterback sophomore Ty Richardson suffered a season ending leg injury, while last Friday night against Bray-Doyle, senior running back Dallen Mercer sustained a high ankle sprain.
“We don’t talk much about the injuries to be honest,” V-A coach Greg Gothard said. “We’ve got enough to worry about as it is. I’m proud though of the kids for playing as hard as they have. Right now our biggest concern is staying disciplined with the football. We haven’t been doing that lately, but against Wynnewood and Ringling, we showed we can be disciplined.”
Before his injury, Richardson was putting up solid numbers on offense. He had passed for 509 yards on 27-of-60 passing with six touchdowns.
A huge part of those 509 yards comes from the duo of Austin Dennis and Checotah Lynn. On the season, Lynn has caught 13 catches for 203 yards with Dennis hauling in seven catches for 195 yards.
Mercer has undoubted been one of the keys to the Comets success this season.
Through six games, the senior has totaled 825 yards rushing on 110 carries with nine touchdowns.
“Having Dallen healthy is very key for us,” Gothard said. “When he’s able to get his carries, it helps make the rest of the offense run smoothly. Right now, he’s the horse were riding.”
V-A will be home to Walters this Friday, before finishing the season with road contests at Rush Springs and Empire, before the season finale at home against Healdton.
While the Comanche Indians didn’t quite match the undefeated start they had to last season, there’s no doubt they have been exciting to watch on the field.
First-year quarterback Kale Reed has defied all expectations through six games, throwing for 361 yards on 35-of-75 passing with three touchdowns. He also has 760 yards rushing with 14 touchdowns.
Clayton Fennell has also carried the ball 50 times for 374 yards and five scores.
Offensively, Comanche is averaging 29.2 points per game, while only allowing 21.8 points per game.
With a 4-2 overall record and a 2-1 district record, it seems like the playoffs could be in the Indians future once again this season.
However, CHS arguably has one of the toughest stretches to navigate through to finish the year.
Friday, the Indians travel to Washington before another road contest against Hobart. Week nine will see Comanche try and slow down the offensive juggernaut known as Frederick, before hosting Hinton in Week 10.
Things started out strong for the Marlow Outlaws in 2012, but have since gone south.
After victories over Lone Grove and Comanche to start the season, MHS has only won one game in its last four contests.
With a 3-3 record to go with 1-2 in district, the Outlaws face a tough road to get to the playoffs under first-year head coach Rob Renshaw.
While the defense has been lights out, only allowing 17 points per game, the offense has struggled, only scoring 15.2 points per game.
Trey Coffman has carried the ball 167 times this season, for a total of 709 yards and six touchdowns. Senior quarterback Wakely Bergner has 449 yards passing on 35-of-72 passing with two TD’s.
Undefeated Tuttle will be next up for the Outlaws Friday night on the road. Marlow will then return home for senior night against Little Axe before road games at Bridge Creek and Kingfisher finish the season.
It’s been quite the turnaround at Bray-Doyle this season.
Through six games in 2011, the Donkeys were winless, and were forced to wait till near the end of the season to experience victory.
But, under the lead of new head coach Don Padgett, B-D only had to wait till week four to get its first win of the season in 2012 against Walters.
A huge part of the Donkeys improved play has been running backs Rodney Hall and Cameron James. In six games this season, Hall has run for 427 yards on 90 carries with three touchdowns. James, meanwhile has 393 yards rushing on 71 carries with one touchdown.
Quarterback Cody Watson has thrown for 140 yards on 11-of-30 passing with two touchdowns.
In order for the Donkeys to have a chance at the playoffs, they’ll need to improve on a defense that’s allowing 40.8 points per game, while the offense is only averaging 15.3 points.
B-D will be at Healdton Friday before hosting Wilson in Week 8. A road contest at Ringling will be followed by the season finale at home versus Empire.