DUNCAN — Every Monday during football season, I will take some time to examine the week that was.
Every area team that had a chance to reach the postseason, coming into Friday night, did.
Duncan, Velma-Alma and Empire had already locked up spots in the postseason and were just jockeying for final position. Central High, Comanche and Marlow, meanwhile, were still fighting to keep their seasons alive.
Well, I take that back. Marlow was fighting the No. 1 team in Class 3A (Kingfisher), while Mount Saint Mary was fighting Little Axe for the Outlaws’ season to stay alive.
Amazingly all three teams did what they needed to do to secure spots in the playoffs—Central High beat Cyril, Comanche beat Hinton by more than 15 points and Mount Saint Mary got its first district win and bounced Little Axe in the process — giving Stephens County seven postseason-bound teams. Not too shabby.
Go out strong
Waurika was one of the two area team not to make the playoffs. They knew that was the case coming into Friday night’s game, giving them seemingly little to play for.
That’s not the way the Eagles approached it, though.
Instead of throwing in the towel and averting their attention to basketball season, Waurika went out with a bang, topping Oklahoma Christian Academy, 40-22..
Hitting the numbers
With 252 yards on the ground Friday, Kale Reed became just the fourth area player to surpass the 1,000-yard rushing mark this season, joining Kevin Harris (Central High), Dallen Mercer (Velma-Alma) and Austin Masoner (Waurika). Empire’s Dillon Twigg is at 950 yards, while teammate Stephen Price is at 870 and Duncan’s Je’Mario McCoy is at 839.
Masoner became the first area player to surpass 2,000 yards of total offense, finishing with 2,140 (1,370 rushing and 770 receiving). Harris is just 201 yards away from the mark with 1,799 yards rushing and receiving.
Waurika quarterback Blaine Shockley eclipsed 1,500 yards passing the season, wrapping up his year with 1,604 yards through the air. The next closest area quarterback is Marlow’s Wakely Bergner with 674 yards passing.
Balancing the attack
After a slew of injuries, including a season-ending ankle injury to junior tailback Trey Coffman, the Marlow Outlaws have had to make some major changes to their offense in a very short amount of time, going away from their 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust style to an attack more based on speed and passing. So far, the offense has had some success as Marlow has broken off big touchdown plays each of the last two weeks.
Though Duncan is still a very run-heavy team, the passing game seems to have made significant strides in the past few weeks. For the second straight week senior quarterback Tanner Norton completed 50 percent of his passes with no interceptions. The Demons will need to be able to rely on that passing game this week against a tough Bishop McGuinness squad if they want to convert on third downs and hang up some points on the Irish.
After each week I will update, who I think is in the running for Area Player of the Year, the same way that analysts debate who is in the running for the Heisman Award after each week of college football.
You know what that sound means. We’re entering the lightning bonus round!
While the Area Player of the Year award is based on a player’s season as a whole, let’s be honest, postseason games are worth more than regular season games. So, if one player gets a few more playoff games than the others (especially if he leads his team to the wins) that gives him a big advantage.
While Kevin Harris (Central High) and Dallen Mercer (Velma-Alma) are still the two frontrunners for the award, Comanche quarterback Kale Reed made up some serious ground Friday night, running for 252 yards and six touchdowns, while throwing for another score, as he carried the Indians past Hinton and into the playoffs.
Harris upped his scoring total to 222 points this season (22.2 per game), scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 128 yards in a win over Cyril that earned a trip to the playoffs.
Mercer helped the Comets wrap up the regular season in style, rushing for 195 yards and four touchdowns.
Greg Crews is sports editor of The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 143 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.