The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 17, 2013

After brief rest, EHS eyes Ponca City payback

ENID, Okla. — A shortened week could not have come at a better time for the Enid Plainsmen (2-4, 1-2), who travel to face longtime rival Ponca City for a 7 p.m. kickoff in an important District 6A-1 contest.

Plainsmen head coach Steve Chard said the abridged schedule helped the team quickly put its 52-0 loss to Tulsa Union behind it.

“On Sunday, we started working on Ponca City because it’s a short week,” he said.

It gave the team a chance to focus on the task at hand — picking up a district win, while avenging last year’s heartbreaking 21-20 loss at home — instead of dwelling on the past two weeks, admittedly against some steep competition.

“You do your process to get ready the same every week and we did that (in preparing for Union),” Chard said. “We worked our butts off and tried to get ready as best we could for Union.”

But just as Chard doesn’t let the setbacks against Tulsa Washington (23-13) and Union, linger, he doesn’t want to focus too much on this being a revenge game for the Plainsmen, though he said he did discuss it with the team.

“I did address it on Sunday,” he said. “I told them that if I were a player in that game I would want a piece of them. Besides that, it’s a really big district game and keeps our playoff aspirations alive, and it’s a team that if we play well, we should beat.

The Plainsmen earlier this season exorcised some demons from last year when Enid topped Bartlesville 28-23, avenging a four-game losing streak in the series and last year’s 44-42 last-play loss to the Bruins. Their game against Ponca City last season was equally heartbreaking.

After building a 14-0 lead in last year’s contest, the Plainsmen watched the Wildcats rally back for a 21-20 win with the winning touchdown coming on a 70-yard punt return that resulted in Enid’s fifth straight loss in what would become a six-game losing streak.

It also was Ponca City’s first win in the series since 2005.

The Wildcats enter tonight’s game 0-6 overall and have been outscored 267-27 this season, including a 57-7 loss to Sand Springs last week, in addition to shutout district losses to Owasso (24-0) and Stillwater (41-0). The Wildcats have been shut out three times this season with their other goose egg coming at the hands of 5A Shawnee Sept. 20 in a 35-0 loss. Their other losses have been against 5A power Guthrie (62-13) and Sapulpa, 48-7 in their season-opener.

But, just as Chard and his team aren’t focusing on the revenge factor, they also aren’t looking past the Wildcats.

“I know they (Ponca City) are going to be excited for this (game),” he said. “They’re going to be fighting and clawing saying ‘hey this is our best chance at home against a 2-4 team to get  a win against a team we beat last year.’ They’ve had a tough go (this season), I understand that,” he said.

The Wildcats have struggled running the ball this season with their top rusher, Dexter Arita, rushing for 27 yards. Quarterback Michael Mongold has passed for 719 yards, but has thrown only two touchdowns and eight interceptions. But, the Wildcats have also been their own worst enemy at times.

“They’ve made crucial errors in the red zone,” Chard noted. “To me, those are correctable errors. It’s not about lack of skill. Last week they were down 7-0 to Sand Springs and against their first string defense, go all the way down the field and fumble on the 1-inch line. They are fixing to tie the game 7-7 ... your confidence wanes when you get that fumble. But at some point they are going to get that problem fixed and punch those in. They moved right down the field against Owasso, so they are not inept in any way.

“The last thing we can do is overlook anybody,” Chard said. “We need a win and we need it badly.”

To get that win, according to Chard, the Plainsmen will need to get their own ground game going again.

After junior tailback Raheem Mitchell’s 253-yard rushing performance against Bartlesville, Mitchell has been bottled up, gaining 34 yards against Tulsa Washington and 61 yards against Union.

“We need to reestablish Raheem and (Raeshaan) Finley off tackle,” Chard said. “I feel like we can do that. The O-Line has had a good season.”

The Wildcats allowed 106 yards rushing and 251 yards passing in their loss last week to Sand Springs and Enid will hope to exploit the Wildcats’ pass defense as well.

“We need to get a little harmony in the passing game and how it marries up with the run,” Chard said. “We haven’t thrown the ball well the last couple of weeks, but (quarterback) Fred Lawrence played real well last week. He tucked the ball and ran and threw some pretty good balls. We think Fred is back rolling.”

Lawrence was the team’s leading rusher with 64 yards on the ground against Union. He also was 12-of-20 passing after struggling with a 7-of-21 performance against Washington.

Chard also thinks Enid High’s defense is making steady progress.

“The guys are running around pretty good,” Chard said. “The DB’s are understanding the shifts and the movement and the rolling of our coverages and the blitzes that marry up with that and that makes kids faster.

“Marshawn (Mills) and Chris Daniels have really gotten a handle on it at deep safety and the defensive end play has been really good with (Austin) Duplantis and (Caleb) Harris. There’s been some good things happening and we expect to play well Thursday.”

With back-to-back games against Washington and Union in the rear-view mirror, the Plainsmen now have a chance to build momentum toward a playoff run with games against Owasso, Stillwater and Sand Springs to finish out the season after their visit to Ponca City.

Chard said he has mentioned the playoffs to the team, but prefers to keep tonight’s task as the primary focus.

“There’s enough to do in the daily practice regimen to keep you busy,” he said, adding he tells his players to just worry about the next snap at practice.

“This is a big game,” Chard said. “We get that. It’s a good feeling to know and hope that if we play our very best, and Ponca plays their very best, that we will come out on top.”

NOTES: Sophomore Devin Pratt is back in the starting lineup tonight at strong safety after missing the Union game with a knee ailment ... Juniors Jesse Cartwright and D’Angelo Williams have worked their way into the starting lineup at the corners for tonight’s game against the Wildcats.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Baseballpicture.jpg Majors open regional with Cherry Creek

    The Enid Majors (36-12) enter the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament today at David Allen Memorial Ballpark coming off one of their best seasons in the past few years. Now, the pressure is on as they face Cherry Creek, Colo.,at 8:15 tonight.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ballpark to observe Military Appreciation Night

    David Allen Memorial Ballpark hosts Military Appreciation Night tonight during the 6 and 8:15 games of the Connie Mack South Plains Regional Tournament.

    July 21, 2014

  • Jeff Mullin mug 2012.jpg Rory McIlroy: There's a new tiger in town

    His father introduced him to the game when he was small, putting a golf club in his hand when he was barely past the toddler stage.
    He fell in love with it and worked hard, improving steadily. He became a terrific junior player and quickly improved.
    He was touted as the next big thing and didn’t disappoint.
    Now, at the tender age of 25, he is a multiple major champion.
    Tiger Woods? Yes, once upon a tee time. But now those words are being spoken about Rory McIlroy.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big 12 Media Days.jpg Gundy has big plans for Hill

    The picture became a little clearer Monday of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Briles: Baylor swinging for the fences

    Coach Art Briles and Baylor arrived at Big 12 football media days as defending champions for the first time.
    Briles has a slightly different take on the Bears’ newfound standing.

    July 21, 2014

  • Radio-TV for 7-22-14

    July 21, 2014

  • Big12.jpg Big 12 commissioner says 'change is coming' in college sports

    That was the theme of Monday's state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Worrell takes 8th at Firekeeper Classic

    July 20, 2014

  • Fowler happy with runner-up finish

    For ex-Oklahoma State star Rickie Fowler, this is getting downright familiar.
    He’s not complaining.
    For the second time this summer, Fowler played in the final group of a major championship, failed to overcome a big deficit, and settled for the runner-up spot.

    July 20, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days start today

    The new-look Big 12 is ready for some football.  
    OK, the conference’s logo is what’s new this year. There are no changes in the makeup or format of the 10-team league, the only power conference with a round-robin schedule that determines a champion without an extra game.

    July 20, 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 http://enidnews.smugmug.com.