The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 30, 2013

Winless Medford visits Waukomis Friday

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Winless  Medford (0-8, 0-7) has something to play for Friday when the Cardinals hope to spoil Waukomis’ (2-6, 1-6) homecoming.

The Cardinals are looking toward next year when they drop down to Class C.

“It (a win) would let (the players) know they are capable of winning,’’ said second-year Medford head coach Jonathan Hampton. “It would give them some confidence, but it’s hard to have confidence when you haven’t won a game for awhile.’’

Medford hasn’t won a game since beating Waukomis 30-22 last season in Week 9 for its only win of the 2012 season.

“(Going) 1-9 is way better than 0-10,’’ Hampton said. “It’s not just a one-game difference, especially if you could do it in Week 9, where it could carry over into the off-season.’’

Hampton has seen his numbers dwindle down from 23 at the start of the season to 17. He expects to have 15 suited up Friday night. The Cardinals start five freshmen on defense after a number of upperclassmen left the team.

Medford has been outscored 466-127.

“Our young kids have never quit,’’ Hampton said. “They’re out there giving 100 percent all the time,  Our freshmen and sophomores just aren’t good enough to beat the other team’s juniors and seniors.’’

MatthewYunker, a 5-foot-5, 120-pound middle linebacker typifies the Cardinals’ spirit, Hampton. He had 19 tackles against Covington-Douglas and 12 against Ringwood.

Yunker played against Canton last week despite having pneumonia, although the team didn’t know it at the time. He tested positive for pneumonia the next day, but has been cleared to play Friday.

“He’s been in school all week,’’ Hampton said. “He’s been mad at me because I haven’t let him practice. I wanted him to get over it.’’

Robbie Webb, who had been averaging 120 yards rushing per game, went out of last weeks 64-14 loss to Canton with a hip injury. He’s also the team’s leading tackler.

Webb has been cleared to play. Hampton said doctors told him it was a matter of how well he could handle the pain.

“He’s 75 percent of our offense,’’ Hampton said. “That hurt us big time. He’s the one that keeps everybody else motivated.’’

Fullback Cade Newman went out as well, further limiting the Cardinals’ offense.

Meanwhile, Waukomis coach Jon Claborn sees another close game against the Cardinals.

“They have some good players,’’ Claborn said. “They have a wide-open spread offense which causes us problems. They do a good job of finding people in space. They create spaces for Webb.’’

Waukomis led at halftime a year ago, only to see the Cardinals rally in the second half.

“We didn’t know how to handle the lead then,’’ Claborn said. “We had lost seven in a row and we didn’t handle it very well.’’

Hampton predicts a high-scoring game — probably a safe prediction considering Waukomis has given up 451 points and Medford 466.

“I don’t think we can stop them, and I don’t think they can stop us,’’ Hampton said. “Whoever has the ball last should win. Of course, last year I thought it was going to be high-scoring and it wasn’t.’’

Waukomis had 330 yards rushing in a 48-30 loss to Ringwood last week. Claborn was especially pleased with sustained drives of 60, 68 and 92 yards.

“That’s pretty good for high school football to go that long without shooting yourself in the foot,’’ Claborn said. “Our kids played with a lot of focus and purpose.’’

Claborn singled out the offensive line of Quinn Newman, Theo Pace and Jared Lawson along with blocking tight ends Stetson Edwards and Gavin Foster.

Claborn was not displeased with several holding penalties WHS was called for.

“Dudley Darrow (former Enid line coach) told me if the line didn’t have three or four penalties, they weren’t doing their job,’’ he said. “Those were hustling penalties.’’

Medford has won the last 10 meetings. Waukomis’ last win in the series came in 1994 (20-14).

“I think that gives our kids a little bit of confidence,’’ Hampton said. “Of course, they’re better. That No. 22 (Justus Crites) is a quick, shifty son-of-gun. But we can tell our kids he’s just a young kid (sophomore) like they are.’’

Medford quarterback Alex Koehn has thrown the ball well, Hampton said. He’s completed only 45 percent of his passes, but has had a large number of passes dropped (Hampton estimates he had 10 passes dropped last week).

Claborn said the Chiefs aren’t thinking revenge, but are trying to finish the season 4-6. They host Canton in the season finale next week.

“Our focus is on us,’’ he said. “We want to try to win as many games as we can. Our kids are seeing progress. That can lead to something positive in the off-season.’’

Claborn said his views on homecoming have changed.

“Early in my coaching career, I didn’t like it because of everything going on that could distract from the game,’’ he said.

 “Now, I realize it’s more important to people outside of the program, To the boys, it’s just one more game. But I know how important it is to the alumni who come home for it. There’s several reunions. For several people, it might be the only game they come to. We want to give them something to cheer for.’’