By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Three in various forms was Clint Kite’s magic number Friday night and the 18-year-old Warner High senior and this week’s Phoenix Player of the Week admitted, though maybe in a tongue-in-cheek way, he’d given thought to using that luck in lottery or casinos this past weekend.
It sure worked on the football field – 33 carries, 333 yards and three TDs in a much-needed 36-14 win over fellow A-8 contender Fairland on Friday night. The yardage was a career-high for the halfback in all three categories running out of the wing T.
He also had 3-squared in tackles – with one being a sack, as a safety.
Back on the offensive side, Warner coach Mike Burdge said it was a sight to see.
“He ran hard, broke tackles and was dragging kids with him,” the first-year Eagles coach said. “It was the hardest I’ve ever seen him run.”
Kite took that remark in stride.
“He’s said that every week,” said the son of Connors State women’s basketball coach Eddie Kite. “So I guess you could say every week I’m getting better and better.”
So goes his team, which with a core of graduation losses from an 11-1 A-8 champion in 2012 has climbed back into title contention in 2013 at 5-3, 3-1 in league play. Burdge says there’s probably a mold from being a coaches’ son that’s helped Kite dig deep for improvement and be a leader on the field. Eddie Kite also played football as a high school wide receiver at Brownsboro, Texas.
“It stands to reason he’s going to have some sports savvy because his dad is a coach,” Burdge said of the younger Kite. “He’s a smart kid who sees things on the field he can take advantage of.”
That opportunity came often Friday in running the power sweep out of a double tight end formation.
“(Fairland) was bringing the strong safety over to the tight end-wing side, our guards pulled and the line did a good job of blocking it down,” Burdge said.
Kite says his improvement has come in part from a willingness to listen. On the year he’s carried the ball 122 times for 704 yards and 13 touchdowns while catching 13 passes for 141 yards.
“My dad’s always taught me to be a coachable player and that would get you further in life, you know, being able to do what people in higher authority tell you to do,” Kite said.
The win over Fairland (4-3, 3-2) put the Eagles in a spot to rebound from a loss two weeks ago to Summit Christian (8-0, 5-0). By beating Afton (7-1, 4-0) on Friday, Warner would put itself in position to jump into a three-way tie for the lead and with a points tiebreaker possibly deciding whether they repeat as district champs, should Afton knock off Summit Christian in week 10. Either way, Friday’s win and Kite’s performance has the Eagles looking toward the postseason.
“Being as young as we are and being able to pull together as the year has progressed shows how much we’ve grown. And if that continues, well, I think we’ll see good things happen,” Kite said.
Week 8 honor roll
Clint Kite, Warner – Ran for 333 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 36-14 win over Fairland
Chandler Puckett, Hilldale – Completed seven of eight attempts for 123 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 28 yards on two carries and one touchdown while playing only the first half as the Hornets beat Keys 54-20.
Hunter Woods, Hilldale – Had three rushing touchdowns while amassing 65 yards on 13 carries, all in the first half, in the Hornets’ win.
Bradley Campbell, Hilldale – Caught five passes in the first half for 77 yards and a touchdown in Hilldale’s victory.
Tramal Ivy, Muskogee – Caused a fumble which led to a touchdown on the return and had one sack and quarterback pressure in the Roughers’ 56-14 loss to Jenks
J.R. Singleton, Fort Gibson – Ran for 167 yards on 27 carries and completed five of 16 passes for 120 yards as the Tigers fell to Cascia Hall 34-28 in overtime.
Deshay Bear, Checotah – Rushed for 113 yards and one touchdown on 17 carries as the Wildcats beat Idabel 42-6.
Roman Rodriguez, Wagoner – Finished with 72 yards on 10 carries and touchdown runs of 12 and two yards, the latter coming with 41 seconds in the fourth quarter left to lift the Bulldogs over Cleveland 28-21.
Lawrence Evitt, Wagoner – Had 19 carries for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the Bulldogs 28-21 last-minute win.
Eric Casey, Vian – Amassed 179 yards on six carries and four touchdowns while also returning a punt 63 yards for another touchdown as the Wolverines beat Wilburton 61-14.
Rylee Simon, Vian – Completed six of eight passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines’ victory.
Casey Pryor, Eufaula – Rushed for 118 yards on 28 carries as the Ironheads fell to Roland 30-22 in overtime.
Gunner Ford, Eufaula – Completed eight of 14 passes for 119 yards and two scores in the Ironheads’ loss.
Nick Kingfisher, Sequoyah – Had an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and ran 14 yards for another as the Indians fell to Jay 48-14.
This week's schedule
All games 7:30 p.m. unless noted
Tahlequah at T. East Central
Putnam City at Muskogee, 7 p.m.
T. Webster at Wagoner
Stilwell at Fort Gibson
Hilldale at Sequoyah
Keys at Jay.
Checotah at Eufaula
Stigler at Valiant
Haskell at Wellston
Vian at Hartshorne
Kansas at Hulbert
Haileyville at Gore.
Afton at Warner
Liberty at Porter
Cave Springs at Porum
Midway at Grandfield
Webbers Falls at SW Covenant