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Game Night Previews: Bethel-Meeker clash highlights area football play tonight

Brian Johnson - Sports Editor

Bethel head coach Joey Ginn is well aware of what the Meeker Bulldogs bring to the table.

“They're a top 10 team in the rankings and they definitely fit that bill,” said Ginn, whose Wildcats will tangle with host Meeker tonight at 7 o'clock.

The Bulldogs, 1-0 on the season, have the luxury of having a game under their belt after slamming Stroud, 45-7, last week.

Senior tailback Caden Wolford ran for 195 yards on 19 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns off a 14-yard run and a 21-yard reception.

“That running back is scary. I remember when we scrimmaged them when he was a sophomore and the process of maturity he has gone through,” Ginn said.

Ginn also saw two solid Meeker quarterbacks in Budgie Cameron and Ty Gabbert last Friday. Gabbert replaced Cameron after Cameron suffered an injury, but the Bulldogs didn't seem to miss a beat, according to Ginn.

“I thought we did a good job. I thought we ran the ball well and our line blocked well,” said Meeker head coach DJ Howell. “Both guys at quarterback played really well. I was pleased with both of them.”

Howell like the aggressiveness of his Bulldogs.

“Defensively, I thought we got after their quarterback well,” Howell said.

Ginn believes his Wildcats will need to play with limited mistakes.

“They're big and physical up front. Their No. 7 (senior JJ Bloomer) is tough at linebacker and No. 23 (junior Zach Cook) is a really good player,” said Ginn. “We talk all the time about playing hard and when we have the football, not turning it over. We just need to have a clean game without penalties.”

Bethel will be led at quarterback by senior Jesse Tucker, who played receiver for the Wildcats last year.

Junior Corey Metscher and senior Dez Loving will provide a load of the carries out of the backfield and Bethel's four leading receiver options include junior Gage Porter, senior Drae Wood, senior Harrison Thomas and junior John Gordon.

“Bethel has some good size and playmakers at the skilled positions,” Howell said. “They've got some really good defensive ends that we'll have to account for.”

Tecumseh at Ft. Gibson

Tecumseh head coach Ty Bullock was a little nervous when he learned that the Savages' season-opening game set for tonight was canceled due to COVID-19 hitting the Perkins-Tryon school system.

Bullock learned about the cancelation last Friday night.

“I have a kid on my coaching staff who played at Berryhill. His mother told him that Berryhill canceled their game because of COVID.” said Bullock.

Berryhill was supposed to play Ft. Gibson so Bullock contacted Ft. Gibson coach Greg Whiteley and the rest is history as the Savages will visit the Tigers instead tonight for a 7 o'clock kickoff.

“We've got a couple of bangs and bruises to a couple of rotational guys, but other than that we're ready to go,” said Bullock.

It comes down to opportunity for Bullock and his Savages.

“We've had a great week of practice. With what happened last Friday night opened a lot of eyes. It made us realize that we can't waste this opportunity (to play),” Bullock said. “There has been a different intensity this week. We're excited for the opportunity to see where we are at and to get some experience before we go into a tough district here in a couple of weeks.”

Ft. Gibson was a playoff team in 2019.

“They bring a lot of guys back so this will be a good test for us,” said Bullock. “They have a really good running back. They're old-style with the I-formation. They like to smash it down your throat and over the top.”

Directing the Tecumseh offense will be junior Monte Valois, who has proven to be a strong thrower in the preseason.

The Savages will also employ three running backs – senior Kane Ainesworth, junior Dylan Graham and junior Chad Wynne - in a rotational basis because all three play on defense.

“We'll try to do that by committee,” Bullock said.

Seniors Gavyn Rogers and Jake Trice will be Valois' primary targets, but Tecumseh has about four others who could makes some grabs.

Harrah at Seminole

Seminole's two scrimmages have impressed veteran head coach Mike Snyder.

Now his Chieftains will officially open play at home tonight against the Harrah Panthers at 7:30 p.m.

“We're, for the most part, healthy. I liked what I have seen in our two scrimmages, but we're a really, really young team,” said Snyder. “We'll start six sophomores on defense.”

Seminole will have junior Brendan Rodriguez back at quarterback and will fire off with a young backfield in sophomores Jason Batise and Garrett Chaffin. Another sophomore, Braxton Street, will start at receiver.

“Our sophomores have really filled into areas where we have needed them to,” Snyder said.

Harrah, under the direction of new head coach Kenny Speer, appears to be similar in appearance, according to Snyder.

“They're kids play really aggressive. I don't see much difference between us and them,” Snyder said.

One area of concern for Snyder is how the special teams will go.

“Going into a first game, special teams are an unknown. You can't practice that at full speed in the preseason,” said Snyder.

Henryetta at Prague

After successfully opening the 2020 season last Friday night with a 27-14 victory at Luther, the Red Devils will host the Henryetta Knights in their home opener at 7 o'clock tonight.

Quarterback Trip Davis ran for a pair of touchdowns while the duo of Trevor McGinnis and Tyler Carpenter combined for 189 rushing yards in the Prague win last week. McGinnis ran for 104 yards on 25 carries and scored off a 2-point conversion and Carpenter netted 85 yards on nine attempts and scored a TD.

“Not a bad way to start,” said Prague head coach Mike Hedge. “I liked our effort and our toughness level. It was hot. Of course it was hot for both teams. But I thought we won on the physical side. We played with a lot of effort. We had a few offensive busts and some defensive breakdowns but I was pleased with the way we overcame our mistakes.”

Henryetta opened the season last week with a 40-20 loss to Okemah, but the Knights certainly did some things to impress Hedge.

“Henryetta is really big and really physical. Their quarterback slings the ball around a little bit and they have kids (receivers) who run good routes.”

U.S. Grant at McLoud

COVID-19 spoiled McLoud's chances at opening the season against Classen SAS in Oklahoma City last Friday.

But the Redskins, who were supposed to be idle tonight, will now get an extra home game as they entertain U.S. Grant at 7 p.m.

It will be the season opener for both teams.

McLoud will be trying to rebound from an 0-10 season in 2019.

“I feel pretty good about our team. We've had great practices. Our players are upbeat,” said McLoud head coach Rusty Hall. “We have a bunch of young guys, but they're good guys.”

The Redskins will go with senior Collin Gibson at quarterback after moving in from Little Axe.

“He has looked great in practice. He's fast and can throw it,” Hall said. “Our linemen up front have pretty good size and have looked good.”

Sophomore and starting left tackle Braden Osborne rolled his ankle in practice Wednesday and is questionable for Friday.

Sophomore Clint Campbell should get a bulk of the carries for McLoud, according to Hall.

“He's a strong downhill runner. He'll often drag two or three kids (defenders) on his carries,” said Hall.

Gibson should have plenty of throwing targets in senior Wesley Olds, senior Karsen Cue, junior Rylan Hall-Norton and sophomore Coby Cardin.

“Wesley has good size at 6-2, 190. Karsen is a short, scatback slot receiver,” Hall said. “Hall-Norton and Cardin are two pretty good deep threats.”

U.S. Grant was 7-3 a year ago.

Grant recently had one preseason scrimmage while McLoud had none.

“From what I've seen (on a few film clips and film from the final game of last year), they're pretty athletic,” said Hall. “They have an athletic quarterback and receivers and they're pretty big up front. I think they return quite a few from last year. They run a spread offense and a 4-2-5 defense.”

Stroud at Chandler

The Chandler Lions open the season at home against Lincoln County rival Stroud tonight at 7 o'clock.

The Tigers were on the short end of 45-7 beating from the Meeker Bulldogs to open the season last week.

Stroud actually tied the game at 7-7 after Chasen Nueman picked off a Meeker pass and returned it 31 yards to the Bulldog 32-yard line. That set up Nueman's 20-yard scoring pass to Dylan Collins.

Chandler, 6-5 a year ago, will be looking to go further than a first-round playoff exit last season.

North Rock Creek at Crescent

It will be the second of three straight road games to launch the season for the North Rock Creek Cougars tonight at 7 o'clock.

Crescent opened play last Friday with a 13-7 triumph over Hennessey while North Rock Creek, making its high school football debut, was on the short end of a 22-6 score at Heavener.

The Cougars got on the board late when Cade Landes hooked up with Rayne Jones on a 40-yard scoring pass after Heavener scored all 22 of its points.

Fox at Maud

After dropping a 48-34 season-opening decision at Depew last Friday night, the Maud Tigers will try to get on the winning track with a home contest tonight at 7 p.m.

It will be the first of two straight home games for Maud which will entertain Dewar next Friday night before opening District C-4 play.