The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

September 12, 2013

EHS looks to rebound against Edmond Memorial

ENID, Okla. — Things can change quickly on the gridiron and in high school football those changes can come in fast and furious progression.

Enid’s 16 first-time varsity members saw that first-hand in the Plainsmen’s 41-28 opening day loss last week to Choctaw when Enid was victimized by two turnovers in its own territory that the Yellowjackets converted into touchdowns. The turnover battle actually was even overall with each team surrendering the ball three times, the difference was Enid’s turnovers set Choctaw up in scoring position.

Momentum shifts are huge factors, something Enid head coach Steve Chard said he spoke to his team about.

“We talked to the defense about this,” Chard said. “We have to deal better with sudden change in a game and being a little more stingy and if the field gets flipped like that on you. Something changes on you suddenly, you have to deal with it.”

Enid’s road opponent tonight (7 p.m. kickoff), Edmond Memorial, is no stranger to turnovers either. The Bulldogs posted a 13-0 win in their first game over Edmond North in a game that saw six fumbles and one interception … in the first quarter.

Of course, turnovers aren’t unique to prep football. The opening weekend of the NFL showed that. But it’s a matter of learning to respond. The Plainsmen showed resiliency in their opening loss in battling back from a 28-7 deficit to tie the game 28-28 before falling in the late stages. It’s that kind of resolve that impressed Chard.

“The first half (at Choctaw) was an acclimation half on the road, in the heat,” Chard said, “and the tremendous resolve we showed to get back at 28-all I think surprised most folks.”

The Plainsmen’s resolve this week will be focused on stopping one of the top running backs in 6A. Edmond Memorial tailback Warren Wand, who accumulated over 1,800 yards last season,opened  2012 by gaining 154 of the Bulldogs’ 196 total ground yards.

Chard said the Plainsmen are working in some new schemes specific to stopping the Bulldogs ground game, but contact may be the most important key.

“The first thing you want to do is take away what they do best and by far what Edmond Memorial does best is to give it to Warren Wand,” Chard said. “The biggest thing is to get five, six, seven hats to the ball when Warren Wand is carrying it.”

 It will be a challenge for the Plainsmen, who were torched for 198 rushing yards by Choctaw tailback Kenny Tisdale in their opener.

But the Plainsmen also have found a very dangerous weapon in their own backfield that will require attention from the Bulldogs. Junior Raheem Mitchell made his first career start at tailback and rushed for 148 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown, and led the team with 212 total yards in Enid’s 469-yard offensive attack.

“There’s a reason he’s (Mitchell) starting,” Chard said. “He’s hard to handle and very strong. He’s very similar to Wand.” The only difference Chard sees is in the level of experience. “They’re the same size and strong kids.”

Like Enid, the Bulldogs also have a quarterback that is just now getting a taste of 6A varsity football in Mick Mayerske. While Tisdale put up the big numbers last week against Enid, Chard felt Choctaw’s third-year starter at quarterback, Jonah Llunas, was the difference. He hopes the EHS defense will be able to exploit Mayerske’s inexperience as he will be starting only his second varsity game.

Enid’s first-year starting quarterback, junior Freddy Lawrence, settled down in the second half of last week’s game and finished with a very respectable 21-of-31 passing for 245 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns.

“Freddy played great,” Chard said. “He zipped us up and down the field in the fourth quarter like a true veteran and was calm and cool.”

But Lawrence will be further tested this week by an active Bulldogs defensive attack.

“They blitz a lot and (assistant) Coach (Nathan) Vogel, has worked with our O-Line on all the pickups and they’re going to be ready,” Chard said. “It’s going be a matter of matching their athleticism, because they are going to be fast.”

As the Plainsmen play their second of three non-district games, Chard expects to see a progression from the opener.

“We want to improve this week, too,” Chard said, adding he expects the team to play better earlier. “We don’t have the excuse this is our first game,” he said. “We’re still on the road, we’re in a big college stadium (UCO’s Wantland Stadium) and all that stuff, but once you get on the road, it’s still a hundred yards. It’s all the same.”

Enid defeated Edmond Memorial 19-14 at home last year and owns a 12-8 advantage in the series.

After spending the opening two weeks on the road, Enid will finally have its home-opener Sept. 20 against Guthrie.

Mills on the move: With his two interceptions last week against Choctaw, senior Marshawn Mills, who joined the team as a junior last season, now has six career interceptions moving him into a five-way tie for 10th all-time in EHS career interceptions. Marshawn, the son of current Plainsmen assistant coach Shawn Mills, is just one interception behind his uncle P.J. Mills as he moves up the career list.

Celebrating 30: This season marks the 30th anniversary of Enid’s last state championship football team and plans are under way to honor that team. Gridiron Club president Kelly Killam said his group is in the process of working to invite members of that team back to Enid and to recognize them during halftime of Enid’s game against Owasso on Oct. 25.

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