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Wolves to visit Durant tonight for District 5A-3 football opener

Brian Johnson
The Shawnee News-Star
Shawnee's Jaylon Orange (2) takes the pitch from quarterback Karsen Conaway during the Wolves' home game with McAlester on Sept. 12.

One week on, one week off.

That's 2020.

It has been the scenario for the Shawnee Wolves this season as they seek their first victory of the football season tonight at Durant for a 7 o'clock kickoff.

It was announced earlier this week that the kickoff would be at 7:30 p.m., but Durant officials confirmed that the start time is 7 p.m.

Shawnee fell to Guthrie (34-16) in its season opener back on Aug. 28, was idle on Sept. 4 and then lost at home to McAlester (34-13) on Sept. 12 after originally being scheduled to face Ardmore at home the day before on Sept. 11. The Shawnee-Ardmore game was canceled due to COVID-19 hitting the Ardmore program

Then came Sept. 18, the Wolves were scheduled to host Carl Albert. But once again, COVID-19 struck, this time to the Titan program, forcing another cancellation.

Now Shawnee will open District 5A-3 play against the Lions at Southeastern Oklahoma State University's Paul Laird Field.

For first-year Shawnee head coach Jason Sexton, he, his staff and players have been taking it in stride.

“We approach it that we want to get better every day, whether we play a game or not,” said Sexton. “Each day we have a chance to get out on the grass or turf, the opportunity is there to improve.”

The 0-2 Wolves could use a boost against Durant tonight.

The Lions, 1-2 on the season, opened the 2020 season on Sept. 4 with a 42-14 triumph at Class 3A Madill. However, Durant has been shut out the last two weeks – 20-0 at home to Glenpool on Sept. 11 and 28-0 at Ada last Friday.

Shawnee will be facing an unconventional opponent in the Lions, according to Sexton.

The Wolves will see Durant utilize the flex-bone on offense and use what Sexton calls a satellite defense

“Their defensive linemen and defensive backs will move around. It's a defense you don't see a lot of,” Sexton said. “Their defensive players will stand up, move around and return to the gap they are originally responsible for. If you're not solid in your offensive line rules, it can be disruptive.”

Offensively, the Lions are expected to start junior Cody Chapman at quarterback, along with junior Francisco Avila in the backfield.

“Their No. 34 (Avila) is a fullback and tailback who gets downhill quick. Once he gets going, he's a load to bring down,” said Sexton. “They also have a couple of athletic wide receivers. They have big kids who play hard.”

After the near two-week hiatus from games, Shawnee is geared up and ready to go to battle in a 'new' season (or district campaign).

“Our first goal is to beat Durant and that's what we'll try to do,” Sexton said.

In dropping the 34-13 home decision to McAlester, the Wolves got a pair of rushing touchdowns from Ray McGirt of 2 and 23 yards. That meeting was the first of two between the Wolves and Buffs. Shawnee plays at McAlester on Oct. 30 for a district clash. The previous game was an non-district affair.

Following tonight's action, the Wolves are scheduled to be at home with Tulsa Edison next Friday night with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Jim Thorpe Stadium. Shawnee is then scheduled to go on the road for an Oct. 9 game at Tulsa Rogers.