The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

September 23, 2013

Timberlake defense finding redemption

ENID, Okla. — One can put the pain Timberlake coach Brian Severin must have felt after an 84-44 loss to Ringwood on Sept. 6 — the most points ever allowed by the Tigers — into perspective.

Timberlake in its 2009 Class C state championship season had allowed 84 points the entire regular season.

But things are looking up for the Tigers, who have bounced back with District C-3 wins over Claremore Christian 52-6 and Deer Creek-Lamont 40-20.

“We’re starting to get the hang of it,’’ said Timberlake coach Brian Severin. “We moved a few people around and got them in better positions to suit their talent. They wanted to make amends.

“We knew that Ringwood was a lot better than it had been, but giving up 84 points to anybody is embarrassing. The kids re-dedicated themselves to doing a better job.’’

Lane Fleming has excelled since moving to middle linebacker. Casey Reinhardt and Caleb Bishop give the Tigers some big bodies up front. They are beginning to use their hands better, Severin said.

Adrian Carson has found a home at defensive end. Defensive back Braden Seaman “is the one kid that will strike you,’’ Severin said. Jacob Henderson, a medalist in the 100 and 200 meters at the Class A state track meet, “can cover a lot of ground.’’

Severin senses both a physical and mental toughness the Tigers lacked last season in a 3-7 campaign.

Quarterback Braden Buller and Fleming played with ankle injuries. Seaman had hurt his shoulder against Claremore Christian, but wouldn’t come out, telling Severin “I’m a senior, I’m playing.’’

“You can tell a difference between this year and last year,’’ Severin said. “Last year if they had a bruise, that would be it. There’s a difference between being hurt and injured. Sometimes you may hurt a little, but you have to go suck it up and go play. That’s the difference between winning and losing teams.’’

Former Timberlake running back Garrett Bowers used to have to have his shoulder put back in place almost every week, Severin said.

“He tells that story to the kids now,’’ Severin said. “There’s a lot of tradition here.’’

Henderson had more than 100 yards in both rushing and receiving against DCLA. He had scoring runs of 60 and 23 yards and had touchdown passes of 40, 41 and 34 from Buller.

“In the past, we had always had a kid where, if you got him the ball, he’s going to score,’’ Severin said. “We didn’t have that last year. Jacob hadn’t played much before and was a little timid. He’s doing a lot better. He can score from anywhere.’’

The offensive line has been opening up holes. Drake Young has graded high at guard. Zeb McCollum, the third of three brothers to play for the Tigers, is improving at tight end.

The win over the Eagles broke a three-game losing streak to DCLA. It was the first win over DCLA for Timberlake’s seniors.

The game had even a bigger impact with District C-3 being down to seven teams after Prue and Carney dropped football. Timberlake, at 2-0, is in a strong position for a home playoff berth.

“That puts us in the driver’s seat for a good playoff position,’’ Severin said, “but we have to continue to play hard every week. We still need to improve and get better. The good is we’re on top looking down now, instead of being on the bottom and looking up.’’

The Tigers were able to fill the open dates with Life Chrsitian and Boise City, both of whom were willing to go to Helena.

“That would have killed us at the gate and in concessions,’’ said Severin about what would have been the loss of two home games. “We were fortunate they agreed to come here and play.’’

The Tigers will be challenged Friday when they host Sharon-Mutual, ranked No. 3 in Class C. The Trojans (3-0) have outscored opponents 142-32 this season. Sharon-Mutual won last year’s game 56-6. The Tigers lead the series, 8-2.

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