By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
To prepare for Alva’s big guns in its district opener, Chisholm brought in some of its own.
Or at least the biggest they could get.
Chisholm head coach Joey Reinart, once an all-district quarterback for Okeene, played the role of Goldbug quarterback Ty Hooper during practice leading up to tonight’s 7:30 matchup at Chisholm. Assistant coach Cody Spurlock, the only one on the field that could emulate Alva receiver Riley Hess’ 6-foot-5 frame, played the role of Hooper’s favorite target.
“It’s hard to emulate a really good athlete like that,” Reinart said. “That’s about as good as we had.”
It still might not be enough.
Hooper passed for 2,920 yards and 35 touchdowns last season as a junior — 1,500 yards and 23 scores of it to Hess — and had the pair in typical form last week against Hobart, finishing with 386 yards and six touchdowns. Hess caught 11 of those completions for 198 yards and three scores.
All that, and Alva’s run game still averages 130 yards each game.
“They’ve got so many threats that it really thins you out defensively,” Reinart said. “When you add in (fullback Cade) Pfleider, and (receiver Trevor) Johnson, and their running backs on the field, they make you pretty weak in some spots, but we’ve just got to contain those big, bust-out plays that they get.”
“(We have to) keep the quarterback (Hooper) on his heels, have our defensive ends be strong, keep him contained and just get as much pressure as we can on him,” said senior defensive lineman Turner Reed, who has a team-high 2.5 sacks in three games.
But the 2013 edition of the longstanding rivalry — since 1976, Alva has won 20 of the teams’ 36 head-to-head matchups — isn’t completely one-sided. Alva’s offense has played the largest role in a 2-1 start, but the Goldbugs have only outscored opponents by 11.3 points on average, helped along by a Class 2A’s 15th-worst defense (100 points against), which allowed a season-high in scoring in last week’s 59-52 win against run-heavy Hobart.
“We’ve got to play better defense, but the other team (Hobart) had something to do with that,” said Alva head coach Bruce Dollar. “That’s about as good a running team as I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”
Alva senior linebacker Joby Allen is slated for his season debut today at Chisholm after missing the first three weeks with an injury, adding another 6-foot, 215-pound presence in a Goldbug defensive front that was gashed on the ground last week. Allen’s return also shifts 265-pound Kory Dietz to his natural position in the defensive line after filling in at linebacker.
“We put some bigger kids on our defensive line,” Dollar said. “I expect us to be a lot better up front.”
Chisholm’s almost exclusively grounded offense averages 205 yards per game, but was held to 119 yards, 3.3 yards per attempt and zero touchdowns last week in an 8-6 win against a box-stacking Blackwell.
“We thought we had it in the bag,” said running back Bryce Stewart, who has rushed for team highs of 507 yards and four touchdowns this season. “We just didn’t execute like we should have.”
But the win was the second in a row in which the Longhorns’ defense held opponents to single digits, the first in a 14-6 Week 2 win against Fairview. Chisholm’s 38 total points allowed is tied for 11th in Class 2A, and is just off the pace set by the 34 allowed by Class A Thomas-Fay-Custer, which beat Alva 28-21 in both teams’ opener.
A win would mean another monkey off the back of Chisholm’s football program. The Longhorns’ win against Fairview was the team’s first in eight tries against the Yellowjackets, and another win today would end a nine-game losing streak to Alva — most recently a 54-7 rout in 2012 — and would result in Chisholm’s first 4-0 start since 2003.
“We’ve really talked about what we’ve been doing these last six, seven months, and narrowing that gap athletically and being more competitive,” Reinart said. “We haven’t really even been close to them the last few years. It hasn’t been close, but the capability is there for us … So it really isn’t anything about exorcising any demons here. It’s a rival, but what we’ve talked about more are the implications if we do win. You knock off one of those teams that’s supposed to be up there at the top (of district 2A-1), and you set yourself up down the road.
Alva (2-1) at Chisholm (3-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Series: Alva leads, 20-16
Last: Alva won 54-7, 2012