MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

August 25, 2013

Bacone QBs not making choice for starter easy

Everything is rounding into shape for the Bacone Warriors as they prepare for their season opener at McPherson (Kan.) on Aug. 31.

Coach Trevor Rubly has to replace 16 members of last year's squad that went 7-3 and missed the postseason by one win. Rubly has gone with a different plan for fall practice in hopes it will pay benefits down the road.

“We kind of switched to something different this year,” Rubly said. “We’re going with one practice a day and trying to keep our kids a little fresher. It seems in the past with the heat and everything that when we had those two-a-days, the kids just get over-exhausted.

“I told everyone we would try it at first and see how it went, and the kids bought into it. So far, we’ve been having good practices.”

There are several positions that Rubly and his staff will be deciding on and one position is that of starting quarterback. Senior Kyle Kuban is coming off a 2012 campaign that saw him pass for 1,155 yards and nine touchdowns, and earning All-Central States Football League honors, but is not guaranteed the nod as he's been battling senior Karl Birkenfield through the spring and fall practices.

“I think that competition brings out the best in people,” Rubly said. “And I think that both of them are competitors and it’s been positive. They’re both doing good things right now.”

With the team holding its final scrimmage on Saturday, Rubly said if the season started today it would be a shuffle system.

“It’s Kyle’s job to lose and he’s by no means doing anything to lose it,” Rubly said. “It’s just that Karl has a better feel for the offense right now and is pushing Kyle. If we were to play tomorrow, both would play.

“Both of them are making plays and both of them are taking care of the football and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Another slot that was vacated because of graduation was running back with All-CSFL Offensive Player of the Year Tyler Thomas having completed his years as a Warrior. Aron McCoy, who backed up Thomas last season, looks to have the inside track to start, but there are others that could wrestle the spot away.

“We did a good job recruiting and have a couple of difference makers,” Rubly said. “Eric Horsley was here in the spring, transferring from Tyler Junior College, and is doing a great job but will miss one possibly two games with a staff infection. We have a couple of other backs in Roderick Mackey, who played a little bit last year, and another transfer kid in Victor Smith. So we have five or six kids that will see some time.”

The largest hole for the Warriors is the defense which led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in total defense. Rubly is looking to replace three all-conference players in Paul Mpagi, Dustin Sherer and Daniel Shield.

“Those guys are hard to replace,” Rubly said. “We kind of circled that wagon at the end of the season knowing we were going to lose those three to graduation. We did a great job of replacing them.”

One person that will fill the void at defensive end is Preston Sanders, a 6-4 transfer from NCAA Division I FSC runner-up Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas.

“He started for Sam Houston all last year and ended up coming to us after that season,” Rubly said. “He’ll be a senior on the field and he’ll be a difference maker. He’s a guy that give a lot of offenses trouble. He gives our offense trouble every day.”

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