By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
The final preseason tuneups begin tonight in the area as some get an extra day’s start on game-planning for next week’s regular-season openers.
After a trip west last week at Mustang, Muskogee is at home in a three-way with Bartlesville and Pryor. Controlled scrimmages begin at 5:30 p.m. and then, with the three JV squads breaking them, the varsity squads resume play at 7 p.m. with half-games. The Roughers start that against Bartlesville with Pryor-Bartlesville following, then MHS and Pryor capping the night.
Muskogee will be a little healthier this week as Sammy Richardson began practicing again and will go both ways, including some at running back where starting running back Tyriq Beasley is battling turf toe.
The Roughers will be without Darrion McNac (knee), whose awaiting test results to determine the severity of his injury. Another dinged-up starter, Bryson Bell, won’t return until next week.
“I’m trying to get away from the mentality if someone’s hurt or someone can’t go, get the next guy up and let’s roll. So it doesn’t matter who we got in there tomorrow. I expect them to play and try to get better,” Blankenship said.
“We’ve got more depth than we’ve had in the past few years and it’s sort of the issue that if the best player isn’t going to play, we’re not going to wait on someone to show they’re healthy enough to go. We’ll find someone who wants to step up.”
There’s no place more convenient to do that than in a game that won’t matter as everyone starts 0-0 for real in a week.
“Last year we beat Mustang in a scrimmage then held our own against Norman North so we felt pretty good going into the season. Well those games didn’t tell us a lot. We’re not game-planning or scheming. It’s seeing how hard we can go and who competes and steps up,” Blankenship said.
• Hilldale takes to the road for a three-way with its passing league pal Wagoner, who will host the Hornets and Tahlequah. The set-up there will be 25-minute running clock game simulations with drives starting at the offense’s 40-yard line. Wagoner and Hilldale will start, followed by Hilldale and Tahlequah and then Tahlequah and Wagoner wrapping things up. Varsity action starts at 7.
• Fort Gibson will go to Oologah. The Tigers will get underway at 5:30 p.m.
Muskogee Preview (Muskogee, Pryor, Bartlesville) at Indian Bowl, 5:30 p.m.
Hilldale, Wagoner, Tahlequah at Wagoner, 5 p.m.
Fort Gibson at Oologah, 5 p.m.
Roland, Vian at Talihina, 6:30 p.m.
Dewar, Macomb, Webbers Falls at Keota, 6 p.m.
Checotah at Muldrow, 7:30 p.m.
Gore, Haskell at Warner, 6 p.m.
Porter at Westville
Savanna at Hulbert
Stigler at Keys, 7 p.m.
Eufaula at Wilburton, 6:30 p.m.
Midway at Porum, 6:30 p.m.