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Football PREVIEW: Shawnee Wolves open season tonight at Guthrie

Brian Johnson - Sports Editor

    The Jason Sexton coaching era opens Friday night as the Shawnee Wolves visit the Guthrie Bluejays for a 7 p.m. kickoff at historic Jelsma Stadium.

    Shawnee will be trying to bounce back from a 2-8 season in 2019 and return to the Class 5A playing fields from 6A-II.

    For Sexton, he has been pleased with the progress of his squad during the preseason.

    “The preseason has been good. We followed the COVID precautions and the precautions have worked so far,” said Sexton. “The kids have learned to practice at the level we have wanted them to. Our young guys have developed and there have been no catastrophic injuries.”

    Coach Kelly Beeby's Bluejays, 4-6 a year ago, were beaten by the Wolves, 33-23, for one of Shawnee's two victories.

    But Sexton is well aware of Guthrie's athleticism and big-play capabilities after the two teams switched film.

    “They have a really good running back and quarterback. Their quarterback (Josh Rains) can throw the ball really well. He's a deep threat. He is a big kid at 200 pounds, can run and is a tough kid,”  Sexton said.

    One of Rains' targets is 6-foot, 155-pound speedster Kaiden Ballard-Stevenson, who also doubles as a cornerback on defense.

    “He's their deep threat,” said Sexton.

    The Wolves will counter with junior Karsen Conaway (5-10, 175) at quarterback along with the senior tandem Demetress Beavers (5-7, 155) and Ray McGirt (5-11, 180) in the backfield. Shawnee's four receivers include seniors Zane Christopher (6-1, 177) and Karran Evans (6-2 175) on the outside and junior Jaylon Orange (5-9 195) and senior Joe Maytubby (6-5, 253) on the inside.

    Starting along the offensive line will are juniors Lane Williams (6-5, 263) and Braden Kirkland (6-3, 280) along with seniors Koby Mitchell (6-0, 245) and Josh Hair (6-2, 205) and sophomore Logan Cash (6-1, 250).

    Defensively, Maytubby and senior Justice Simpson (6-3, 210) will be the defensive ends with senior Terrance Shaw (6-0, 230) and sophomore Nalyshua Perez (5-11, 235) on the interior. Junior Samuel Anderson (6-0, 200) and senior Hudson Davis (6-1, 185) will occupy two of the linebacking spots with the other undecided as of early Thursday.

    Shawnee's secondary will include Orange at strong safety and McGirt at free safety along with Evans and Christopher at the corners.

OTHER AREA FOOTBALL NEWS

    McLoud's game tonight at Classen SAS has been canceled. In its place, the Redskins will host U.S. Grant next Friday night at 7 p.m.

    Other area games tonight include:

    Stroud at Meeker

    Prague at Luther

    North Rock Creek at Heavener

    Maud at Depew

    In addition to McLoud, four other area teams -Tecumseh, Bethel, Seminole and Chandler - are scheduled to open the season next Friday.