Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Okeene won’t have much time to savor its 26-14 win over No. 6-ranked Cashion Friday.
The Whippets go from the frying pan to the fire when they renew one of the area’s top rivalries against No. 1 Thomas in Okeene’s home opener on Friday. The win boosted the Whippets to No. 9 in this week’s Class A poll.
The Terriers, who opened the season with a 28-21 win over No. 10 (2A) Alva, hold a 23-14 advantage over the Whippets since 1970, including a 6-3 win in 2011 and 26-6 victory last season.
“It’s time to go back to work,’’ Wardlaw said. “It’s a rivalry that never goes away. It’s always a big week for us. You can throw out the record book when we play.’’
It’s a rivalry, Wardlaw said, where players hear stories from grandfathers, fathers, brothers, grandmas, mothers and sisters.
“In 2007, we won the state championship and they didn’t have a good year (4-6), but they gave us all we wanted,’’ Wardlaw said. Okeene won 12-0 that year.
“It’s not a make or break game, but one of our goals is to beat Thomas every year. There’s quite a lot of pride on the line. It’s our home opener. We’re ready to get after it.’’
The Whippets, despite running back Chance Bedwell going out on the game’s third play, showed a ball-control attack against Cashion. Bedwell is scheduled to have an MRI today. Wardlaw said he doesn’t know what his status will be for Thomas.
Okeene rushed for 257 yards on 40 carries for an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Quarterback Scott Dobrinski rushed for 149 yards on 24 carries and scored on runs of 22, four, one and five yards.
Cade Mitch, Bedwell’s replacement, added 79 yards on 11 carries.
“Scott had a great game and Caleb did a good job taking up the slack,’’ Wardlaw said. “We didn’t try to throw it a lot (8-of-15). We ran the ball smartly and took care of the ball.’’
The real heroes, Wardlaw said, was Okeene’s offensive line of center Austin Jordan, guards Tanner McCollum and Mitchell Howe, tackles Daniel Rackley and Jamie Dobrinski and tight end Will Bedwell.
“That was the key,’’ Wardlaw said. “We were able to keep the ball out of their hands. We had two or three nice long drives to open the game, which made a lot of difference.
“Our kids played hard the whole four quarters. They were completely exhausted at the end, but they sure wanted to win the game at Cashion. It’s tough to win there. We had a lot of sore bodies, but it was a big win for us. Our whole line returns. They should be better.’’
The Wildcats had 246 yards of total offense (117 on the ground and 129 in the air). Okeene, though, while bending, didn’t break on defense.
The Whippet defense, led by Tucker Jones and Will Bedwell, were able to force a turnover at the Okeene eight on Cashion’s first possession.
“We prevented the big play,’’ Wardlaw said. “We made them drive. We didn’t give them the 20-yard plus plays. We have been consistent, and we have tried to be relentless.’’
The Whippets have gone from having two seniors last season to having nine in 2013.
“We have a little more maturity, mentally and physically,’’ Wardlaw said. “The leadership is a little better. When you have that, the desire to be better is more contagious maybe.
“Even though we had a lot of kids back, we still had some question marks. That win Friday night helped eliminate some of that. What impressed me was how hard we fought until the end.’’