The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 8, 2012

State title hopes revived in Garber

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Jordan Avants was a freshman when Garber made its most recent title run, playing a small special teams role as the Wolverines won their second straight state championship.

This season, the Garber senior likely will be a major  factor if his team can return to the Class B title game, starting with a date with host Alex, 7:30 p.m.

“That would be pretty special,” Avants said. “That’s obviously my goal and it would be a great way to cap off my career in high school.”

Avants provided the bulk of the Wolverines’ offense in an 8-2 regular season, rushing for 1,702 yards and 33 touchdowns on 175 carries and completing 83 of 134 of his passes for 1,634 yards and 18 more scores.

“Jordan’s had a pretty decent season,” coach Mark Harmon said as he listed his senior quarterback’s statistics. “Well, maybe better than decent.”

Avants has helped make the Wolverines’ shift to a fast-paced, no-huddle offense a successful one. Harmon and the Garber staff installed the new approach in the offseason, and as the season progressed, the quick-hitting offense paid dividends.

“Our offense has really been clicking here lately,” Harmon said. “Peaking at the right moment here, hopefully.”

After back-to-back mid-season losses against Pond Creek-Hunter and Laverne —the team’s only two losses of the season —the Wolverines have averaged 63 points in wins against Covington-Douglas, Ringwood and Medford.

Friday against Alex (9-1), Garber faces a super-sized Longhorn defense that hasn’t allowed more than 30 points this season.

“They’re big at the nose guard and one of their linebackers,” Harmon said. “Their two defensive ends are quick, and they really get upfield. We’ve been outsized all year. We’re not really big, so we’re kind of used to it.”

“They’re big, and they’re pretty physical,” Avants said. “We’re aware of that.”

That’s why the Wolverines hope their no-huddle offense will be the ideal weapon.

“We hope they’re going to get tired,” Avants said. “that’s the goal.”

“All we’ve got to do is play with good technique and let everything else take care of itself,” added senior tight end/defensive end Logan Vandiver.

Alex’s size extends to the offensive side of the ball, namely in tight end Zach Mainka. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound senior has team-highs of 19 receptions, 316 yards and three touchdowns in 2012.

“He’s a big hoss,” Harmon said.

Beating Alex could mean another step for a resurgent Garber program. The Wolverines finished 5-5 in 2010 and 4-6 in 2011 after back-to-back championships the two seasons prior.

“It’d mean a lot,” said Vandiver, who has 24 catches for 366 yards and a score on the season. “We just want to live up to all those expectations we’ve had the last couple of years.”

“We feel like we have a fighting chance,” Harmon said. “That’s all we can ask for.”