The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


September 22, 2013

Too soon to despair over EHS

ENID, Okla. — The howls of despair already are being heard in some corners after the Plainsmen dropped their football home opener 36-16 to Guthrie on Friday. Comments such as “it’s going to be another long season for the Plainsmen,” and “I don’t know what the coaches are doing” were prevalent across Facebook following the loss.  Here’s a piece of advice: Step back and take a deep breath. It’s far too soon for such downcast thoughts and words.

A quick look at Friday’s score may give the impression the Plainsmen are not much different from last year’s edition, which went 3-7 and lost by 23 points to Guthrie. But the fact is the Plainsmen gave undefeated and top-ranked in Class 5A Guthrie its first real battle, holding leads of 10-0, 10-8 and 16-15 before being worn down late by a dynamic and bruising running game led by likely Division 1 recruit Kai Callins who gained 179 yards.

Guthrie cannot be dismissed as just a Class 5A team. The Bluejays are a handful for most 6A teams. They put a 49-point hurt on Ponca City the week before in a 62-13 wipeout that could have been far worse if they had not called off the dogs late. The Bluejays opened with a 46-6 win over Duncan.

Granted, the loss to Guthrie revealed some areas of real concern, not the least of which is figuring out kickoff return coverage as the Plainsmen were frequently burned with the Bluejays setting up in Enid territory. The Plainsmen would have been better off just kicking the ball out of bounds and taking a penalty.

The Plainsmen also must do something to shore up the middle of their defense. Besides Callins on Friday, Idae Alexander rushed for 107 yards, making for three running backs that have rushed for over 100 yards this season in the first three games, with Choctaw’s Kenny Tisdale going for 197 yards in the opener.  Enid has shown the ability to stop a top-notch tailback though, limiting Edmond Memorial’s Warren Wand to 98 yards in the Plainsmen’s 32-27 win in Week 2.

But the Plainsmen have their fair share of playmakers and figure to be just fine on offense, led by explosive junior Raheem Mitchell, who leads the team in both rushing with 330 yards, and receiving, with 160 yards. Mitchell showed his toughness and speed with a dazzling 80-yard touchdown Friday on a screen pass from junior quarterback Freddy Lawrence that temporarily gave Enid the lead back at 16-15. Lawrence himself has shown he is growing comfortable leading the offense.

Enid also has a dynamic secondary that has picked off six passes, and opposing offenses dread throwing against the likes of seniors Marshawn Mills, Aaron Beagle and Alex Lofton. Lofton, one of Enid’s top playmakers on offense and defense, was held out of the Guthrie game with a sprained ankle and is expected back against Bartlesville for homecoming this week.

This week’s game against Bartlesville begins the real season as it is the district opener. Enid may be 1-2, but have not exactly played a bunch of cupcakes. The combined record of their opponents is 7-2, with surprising Choctaw now 2-1 after defeating Putnam City West 45-28 Friday and Edmond Memorial raised its record to 2-1, its only loss coming to Enid, with a 40-10 win over Deer Creek Edmond.

Bartlesville, a team the Plainsmen lost to 44-42 on the last play last season, is 2-1 but has not faced a Class 6A team this year. The Bruins opened with a loss to 5A Bishop Kelley 31-24, then defeated 5A East Central 44-14 and 5A Skiatook on Friday, 41-10. The combined record of Bartlesville’s opponents is 2-7.

The Plainsmen have a reasonable expectation to open 1-0 in district play after using the first three weeks to get ready for district. The team is employing a new 3-4 defensive scheme and breaking in several first-time varsity players who are showing quick development. By comparison, Guthrie returned 16 starters this season.

There remains an air of confidence and determination in the Enid locker room and the coaching staff appears to be cohesive and as determined as the players.

The turnout at Selby Stadium Friday against Guthrie was one of the more enthusiastic home crowds of the past couple of seasons, showing up in a sea of pink for Win-Win night in the fight against cancer. Friday’s loss should not dampen that spirit.

At the risk of coach-speak, all of the team’s goals remain in front of Enid, first and foremost of which is making the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The real season begins Friday. It’s hardly time to despair.

Ruthenberg is sports editor at

the News & Eagle. Contact him at

Text Only
  • Moving In? Indoor football coming back to Enid?

    Oklahoma City businessman Antwone Taulton and Enid Enforcers manager Mark Timberlake are in the early stages of a plan they hope will see the return of arena football in 2015 to Enid after an absence of more than 10 years. And if things progress as one league executive expects, an official announcement could be forthcoming in the near future.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • OU logo color.jpg Probe into incident involving Mixon could last into next week

    The Norman Police investigation into the incident at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is an “involved party” could continue into next week.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Morris Claiborne Claiborne wants to prove worth to Dallas

    Morris Claiborne had already told reporters he was ready to prove he was worthy of Dallas’ dramatic move up the draft board to get him with the sixth overall pick in 2012. He didn’t waste any time showing some urgency.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tim Tebow NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

    The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far enough.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Attorney: OU's Mixon acted in self defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon said the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 29, 2014

  • OSU no longer faces APR restrictions

    NCAA officials say Oklahoma State’s football program no longer faces restrictions for the upcoming school year because its Academic Progress Rate has been amended.

    July 29, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-30-14

    July 29, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rice's punishment hardly fit the crime

    Two games, just over 12 percent of the 16-game regular season. Two games for hitting a woman hard enough to knock her out cold.
    Rice said Monday he will not appeal his suspension, which could wind up costing him $529,411 in fines and salary. And why wouldn’t he? He must feel like he got off scot-free.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SamBradfordpicturejpeg Bradford used to being at 'career crossroads'

    It’s become a rite of training camp for Sam Bradford.
    Every summer, he deals with the oversized burden of living up to getting picked first overall in 2010. The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • TU wins C-USA academic honor

    The University of Tulsa earned the 2013-14 Conference USA Institutional Excellence award by posting the highest grade point average during the 2013-14 academic year for all student athletes in conference-sponsored athletes, the school announced on Monday.

    July 28, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos

Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at