After opening the season with wins over Harrah and OK Centennial, the McLoud Redskins (2-3) have dropped three in a row and desperately need a road win over Little Axe (2-2) tonight.
“We’re still in the playoff hunt, but this definitely is a must-win week for us,” coach Rusty Hall said. “Little Axe has played well in spots this year. They play hard and have a lot of players that will hit you in the mouth. I look forward to the challenge this week.”
The three straight losses at the hands of Perkins-Tryon, Tecumseh and Prague have all been by double digits. Hall said he and his coaching staff had a heart-to-heart with their players last Saturday.
“We sat down with the guys and had a nice talk,” Hall said. “They were very receptive to the challenges regarding personal growth and team-first mentality. I think it went well. With all the rain this week, it’s thrown us off a bit, but we’ve got a lot of teaching and film work in." After getting off to a hot start, quarterback Braxton Hall has struggled the last three outings. Through the first two weeks, Hall had 478 yards passing and six touchdowns. Hall has cooled off as of late and the last three weeks he’s thrown for less than 100 yards in each contest.
On a positive note, Hall’s added four touchdowns on the ground and two through the air during the slump.
Coach Rusty Hall looks for his quarterback to have a bounce-back game tonight.
“We challenged Braxton to step up and take control of the offense,” Rusty Hall said. “We know he’s capable of being a great leader.”
Since stepping in at receiver, sophomore Tyler Jones has been a key part of the passing game. Despite not having a touchdown, he’s recorded six receptions for 88 yards and two 2-point conversion receptions.
Mason Nikkel caught his first touchdown of the season last Friday, and with Zach Green doubtful due to a shoulder injury, coach Hall expects Nikkel to help fill the void left by Green.
Sophomore receiver, Coye Campbell, has stepped up the previous three weeks, recording seven receptions for 95 yards.
Damien Dye continues to lead the Redskins in rushing with 340 yards and three touchdowns. He’s also been a key ingredient in the passing game, adding two touchdown receptions on the season.
Starting linebacker Jaden Mitchell has returned from a broken hand injury earlier in the season and recorded one sack last week in the loss to Prague. On the season, Mitchell has two sacks and a forced fumble.
“Jaden is one of those guys that helps out with our morale across the board,” Hall said. “He’s been solid for us even though he’s playing through a tough injury.”
Another key component in the Redskins’ defense is senior lineman Shane Rodriguez. On the season, Rodriguez has recorded five sacks. He’s also the starting center on offense.
In McLoud’s two wins this season, they outscored their opponents 63-30. In the three losses, they’ve given up 40-plus points in each contest, while being outscored at a rate of 13757.
Little Axe is coming off a 70-0 loss to Jones last week. Prior to the loss, they recorded wins over Bridge Creek and Crooked Oak. Little Axe also suffered a week-one loss to Lexington.
In Little Axe’s two victories, they’ve scored outscored their opponents a combined 46-32 and were outscored 91-6 in the two losses.
Kickoff is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start at Little Axe High School.