MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 23, 2013

Football goes heavy tonight

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— Kaden Weaver spends Saturdays pursuing checkered flags and the occasional car or cars in front of him.

Tonight, he’ll be on the field as one of two cornerbacks contending for a starting position at Hilldale when the Hornets host Haskell in the first of two pre-season scrimmages.

It’s one unsettled area Hilldale coach Chad Kirkhart is looking at, the other being the right side of his offensive line.

Weaver is battling with Dakota Holmes opposite teammate Bradley Campbell, who returns at the other corner. The battle should be tested by Haskell quarterback Alex Wheeland, who rushed for 1,150 yards and passed for 778.

“Weaver is a little ahead but nothing is in stone,” Kirkhart said. “Same up front where we have two guys who have gotten a little more of the reps than the others but we’ll make sure they get a bunch of reps tonight so we can evaluate.

“In practice it doesn’t look like what it’s going to look like on Friday so we’ll be able to evaluate a lot (tonight).”

Asked what stands out on his resume, Weaver, who sandwiches in racing in the Factory Stock division at Outlaw Motorsports Park on Saturdays, was quietly humble.

“I don’t know. I don’t want to brag on myself or nothing,” he said. “It’s been a good (battle). “I know I got to work hard. It’ll come down to whoever works the hardest and whoever puts out the most.”

Holmes, who has played both basketball and baseball for the Hornets, came out this season.

“I just wanted to do it my senior year,” he said. “I had played before and I still went to all the games. Watching last year, it just got to me. I know Kaden got some time there last year and is used to it and I’ve got a lot of work to do to get there but I’m giving it my best shot.”

The other battle features Bailey Puckett, Jake Leybas , Dalen Young, John Fernandez and Wyatt Gassaway in the mix at right guard and right tackle. Brodie Edwards, another candidate, is at center until Caleb Schultz heals from torn knee ligaments, but then looks to move to tackle.

Among other action tonight:

•  Fort Gibson and Wagoner are at McAlester in a tune-up that begins at 6 p.m. The Tigers are coming off a Class 4A quarterfinal season and Wagoner having made the semifinals.

• Also, the regular season begins for one city school. Boulevard Christian kicks off 2013 against Cookson Hills (Kan.) Christian at Hatbox Field beginning at 7 p.m.

Now in its fourth year, the Knights’ program which competes in the Oklahoma Christian Schools Athletic Association is finally starting to show some maturity as some of those first-year players now move into their senior season.

“I’m starting with more seniors (four) than I’ve ever had and that’s exciting,” said head coach Jerry Perdue. “I can see it on the field in our early practices as our guys are just bigger and stronger and more confident.”

• One area school which did get to start fall drills after an eventless summer still has to serve out one more penalty from OSSAA violations. Sequoyah won’t get any preseason scrimmages before it kicks off the regular season in two weeks.

SCRIMMAGES

Muskogee at East-West Showdown at Mustang, 6 p.m.

Haskell at Hilldale, 7 p.m.

Muldrow, Miami at Tahlequah, 6 p.m.

Fort Gibson, Wagoner at McAlester, 6 p.m.

Porter at Chouteau

Quinton vs. Hulbert

Gans, Oaks, Watts at Webbers Falls, 6 p.m.

Grove, Stigler at Sallisaw, 7 p.m.

Vian at Lincoln Christian, 6:30 p.m.

Hartshorne, Atoka at Checotah, 7:30 p.m.

Warner at Canadian, 6 p.m.

Keota at Midway, 6:30 p.m.

Porum at Arkoma, 6 p.m.

Gore at Pocola, 6 p.m.

REGULAR SEASON OPENER (OCSAA)

Cookson Hills vs. Boulevard Christian (Hatbox), 7 p.m.