By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
After facing three unbeaten teams (Merritt, Pond Creek-Hunter and Laverne) and the state’s all-time winningest coach (Seiling’s Bruce Hendrickson), 2-4 Covington-Douglas is a welcome sight for 1-5 Waukomis.
“I’m sure they’re ready to play us, too,’’ said Chiefs head coach Jon Claborn with a chuckle.
Waukomis will attempt to break a string of 15 straight district losses in the B-1 battle of two young teams trying to gain some confidence.
Claborn and Covington-Douglas coach Brian Smith have a relationship that goes back to their playing days against each other in Pond Creek-Hunter (Claborn) and Covington-Douglas (Smith) games.
Gus Overstreet, who played for Claborn at Pioneer, is an assistant on Smith’s staff.
“Coach Smith is a good friend,’’ Claborn said. “We both know what the other is trying to accomplish, but it doesn’t matter what I know. What matters is what the kids know and how they react. Hopefully, I can educate them to play a good football game.’’
Smith and Claborn often scouted together.
“He knows my offense better than most people do,’’ Smith said. “We know his style of play pretty well.’’
That’s aren’t the only similarities.
Both teams are young and have had their moments on offense, but have struggled on defense. Waukomis has allowed an average of 59.3 points per game. Covington-Douglas has allowed an average of 46.3.
“I think it’s going to come down to who can get some stops,’’ Smith said. “We both can move the ball. We both have to tackle better in space. A lot could come down to who gives up the big kickoff return or punt return.’’
Justus Crites has four kickoff returns for scores for the Chiefs. Claborn said Smith is hard to prepare for because he uses so many different formations and the high number of misdirection plays in the playbook.
“It really could be a track meet,’’ Claborn said. “Special teams can be tricky in eight-man.’’
Waukomis’ Alix Myers kicked a 27-yard field goal in a 60-10 loss to Laverne last week. His foot, Claborn said, could play a factor.
Claborn was encouraged by the Chiefs’ effort against Laverne.
“It’s really strange to say this when you get beat by 50 points, but I really appreciated the kids’ effort, they played hard for all four quarters and didn’t quit,’’ Claborn said. “We made them work use six to eight plays to score instead of breaking down. That was a big improvement from the week before (in a 50-0 loss to Pond Creek-Hunter). We made some strides.’’
The schedule will ease up for the Chiefs the last four games. Ringwood is the lone team with a winning record.
“All of our focus is on Covington-Douglas now,’’ Claborn said. “We survived playing Pond Creek-Hunter and Laverne back-to-back. Now we’re playing some team that we’re on an even playing field with. It’s up to us how we prepare if we’re going to win or lose. I’m sure they feel the same about us.’’
Covington-Douglas is coming off a 68-32 win over Medford. The lone negative was the Cardinals scoring 26 points in the second quarter.
“We have struggled putting consistent quarters together,’’ Smith said. “We had way too many breakdowns and missed way too many tackles in he open field. We haven’t put together four good quarters yet. The momentum anyone will get in the first quarter will be big.’’
Hunter Carl has four straight games of 100 or more yards passing. He has thrown for seven scores and has rushed for five more.
Neither team reports new injuries.