By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Eyes straight ahead
Sequoyah coach Brent Scott’sEyes straight ahead
Sequoyah coach Brent Scott’s been playing scoreboard watch regarding Hilldale, still a week away for his Indians squad.
Before the two meet next Friday at Hilldale for what’s likely to be District 3A-7 title, Scott’s team (5-1, 3-0) has to take care of Jay, which is in a battle with Lincoln Christian for the final playoff spot out of the district.
“We’re going against two teams whose backs are against the wall (Jay this week and Lincoln Christian in week 10) and we’ve got Hilldale,” he said. “Nothing is going to be easy. Chad (Kirkhart) has those guys going and that’s no surprise to me. But we’ve got some business to take care of first.”
Scott’s feeling optimistic, though and part of that he says is the play of his line on both sides, notably from Tanner Sheets and Elijah Tucker on offense and Grayden Elrod on defense.
“The play on both sides has been exceptional,” he said. “Offensively whether we’re in a one-back set or the wing-T we’re coming out in different alignments up front and Sheets and Tucker have had to play different positions,” he said. “They’ve done a great job adapting.”
Right now, it’s a four-way tie for the lead. But in the next three weeks, the 3A-8 logjam will clear.
Checotah and Roland both play Spiro, all at 3-1 in the league. If Checotah wins out and Roland slips up, Checotah will take the district. If those three beat each other up, Stigler, the other team in the jam which finishes with three 1-3 teams, could get back in.
Checotah beat Stigler last week and Wildcats coach Brandon Turley was particularly pleased with his defense under coordinator Darren Johnson, which held Panthers quarterback Cade Shearwood to 85 yards rushing and intercepted him three times with just 97 yards passing.
“I thought it was our most complete game this year,” Turley said. “Anytime you can hold that kid to those numbers you’ve done something special because he’s a special type of player.”
Turley thinks his squad is getting better every week.
“We’re still kicking ourselves over Roland (a 22-20 district-opening loss),” he said. “We doubled them in yardage and if we don’t turn the ball over four times, we’re looking at a different picture in the standings.”
It’s a rare week 8 non-district game for the Pirates (5-2, 3-1 A-6). In what was essentially an arrangement with the majority of fellow seven-team district 2A-6 to plug late holes on schedules, they draw Hartshorne, the next best thing to co-leader Vian. Those two teams meet next week to decide that district.
Even as Hartshorne needs to avoid looking ahead, the last thing Pirates coach Lee Blankenship sees for his team is a letdown.
“This program has a lot of tradition and pride, and having played two 2A teams (Panama and Mounds) and a 3A team (Heavener) in our first three non-district games, we’re not going to back down for anyone,” he said. “That and it being our final home game, there’s a lot to play for in a game that doesn’t have any impact on our postseason drive.”
Gore hits the road to play winless Haileyville next week and finishes with unbeaten Talihina in a game that should decide A-6.
“Hartshorne has big guys on the offensive line, similar to Talihina,” Blankenship said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
— Compiled by Mike Kays