MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

October 3, 2013

Roughers turn inward to search out effort answers

Muskogee’s Joshua Medrano was outmatched by Broken Arrow’s bigger offensive tackles, kind of like the team as a whole was in what became a 65-10 loss last week.

That didn’t matter to the junior defensive end.

On a game where total team effort was questioned, Medrano left it out on the field, getting cited as an example of such by head coach Josh Blankenship this week.

“He got flattened on multiple occasions and got whipped but it didn’t stop him from competing and fighting,” the head coach said. “I need more guys like him who are going to battle the whole game.”

In other words, you got to have a little Rudy in you before you become a Rocky.

Being a coach’s kid doesn’t hurt the process either. Jason Medrano, the offensive coordinator-line coach, is his father.

Medrano, who had a season-high six tackles despite the matchup last week, has a pretty good understanding of what it takes to be mentally tough.

“I’ve been around this and part of some kind of Rougher team for about nine years,” he said. “I’ve seen so many leaders come through here, like the guys on our semifinal teams (2005-2007). I honestly believe we have the talent to get to the playoffs and get as far as we want but we have to get everybody mentally involved.”

You can’t get more mentally determined than that, especially when you’re 0-4 and looking at a team that beat your team 55-14 a year ago.

But he gets it honest.

“It’s tougher being a coach’s kid. Everything you do is connected to that in people’s eyes, so you have to show that you’ve earned your spot,” he said. “That all doesn’t bother me. The way I see him, my dad’s a great leader out there and I can use how he leads and apply it for what I need to do and what we as a team need to do.”

Blankenship’s concern isn’t over guys like Medrano, or another such player being defensive back Keshon Burns, a move-in from Fort Worth, Texas, whose playing time has increased since the outset.

“Keshon would go hard and hit anyone,” Blankenship said. “He gave a good defensive effort..

“It’s like this. Football’s the ultimate team sport. If you have a handful who aren’t competing, there’s going to be breakdowns. I don’t want to take away from the few that were all in, but you have to have all 11 invested. We had that (up to this week) and as a result, we got better every week. Because we didn’t last week, we took a bit of a step back.”

Medrano didn’t understand why.

“On one hand, it just seemed like there were people who were giving all the effort they could. But especially after BA scored their first three TDs, I saw people taking plays off, people who were wanting out of the game and people who didn’t want to go in or go back in,” Medrano said.

Burns, though not as indoctrinated into all things Rougher, saw it that way as well while collecting himself nine solo tackles and two pass deflections. He also returned three kicks, something he did at Fort Worth’s Polytechnic High, and can play receiver.

“It was like ‘oh it’s BA and we’re going to lose to BA.’ Some acted like underdogs and they played like underdogs,” he said.

If there’s a message to deliver, peers are sometimes better than coaches.

Both agreed that practices have been better this week.

“What everybody saw Friday was a reflection of how practice went. We didn’t practice well all week,” Medrano said. “The coaches have really worked us and conditioned us a lot and I think practices have been pretty good.”By Mike Kays

Phoenix Sports Editor

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