MHS Tahlequah preview

Muskogee’s offensive unit sets up with center Colton Archer, quarterback Rell Lewis and running backs Jarryd Horn and Dre Stout, last week against Union.

Phoenix special photo by Jim Funk, Muskogee, OK

TAHLEQUAH — It will only seem like there’s more than one Rydell Jones lining up tonight for the Muskogee High School football team.

Normally the Roughers’ offensive left tackle, the 6-foot-2, 275-pound senior is likely to see action at left guard and then could get playing time at right guard and tackle. This does not include his also starting at defensive tackle for the No. 1 team in the Associated Press Class 6A poll.

Regardless, the Tahlequah Tigers are likely to have their hands full when the Roughers come to town tonight at 7:30 in the District 6A-4 opener for both teams at Doc Wadley Stadium.

Because Stacy McGee, Muskogee’s left guard and defensive tackle, is out for two weeks with a hairline fracture on a hip growth plate, the Roughers’ coaches have had to shuffle their lineup. They will come to depend on Jones, a three-year starter, a bit more than usual.

“I can’t ask for a better kid to lead my offensive line,” MHS assistant coach Jason Medrano said. “He can play any position I need him to because he knows my system.”

Actually, Medrano asked Jones to play more than one position last week when McGee went to the sidelines early in the game with the injury. Jones didn’t come off the field in the Roughers’ 21-7 win over Tulsa Union.

“That wasn’t too bad,” Jones said about not getting much rest. “I feel like I can do anything if put my mind to it. I don’t want to say the team depends on me, but I’ll do what I can to help the team out. That makes me feel important.”

Jones’ teammates consider him to be important.

“He’s a good lineman and one of the reasons why I’m so good,” senior defensive end Jontae Bumpus, an University of Oklahoma signee, said. “We have this little rivalry in practice and I’ve developed as a pass rusher because of him. His technique makes him a good lineman, but he’s also strong and quick.”

Jones bench presses an estimated 330 pounds, squats 500 and power cleans 225 pounds as one of the stronger players on the Roughers’ roster. His reputation is spreading.

“I promise you that every defensive end in the state knows who he is,” Medrano said. “He makes mistakes sometimes, but he comes back and corrects those mistakes. He’s not going to get beat twice.”

Tahlequah coach Kenneth “Tuffy” Thornton knows his team has plenty to defend against even if Jones was missing from the lineup tonight. Muskogee is 3-0, while the Tigers are 1-2.

“The game’s a huge challenge for us,” he said. “We just want to go compete, play hard and not hurt ourselves.

“Defensively, they run to the ball so well. They’re impressive from watching them on film. Offensively, they’ve got the great receiver (Jameel Owens), running back (Dre Stout) and quarterback (Rell Lewis). What else do you need? You can tell they’re hungry. Muskogee ought to have everybody’s respect.”

Tahlequah earns the respect of MHS coach Matt Hennesy.

“This is not a game we can look past,” he said. “Playing at Gable Field isn’t easy. We need to make things happen right off the bat for us. I can’t wait to see what happens.”

React to this story:



This Week's Circulars