By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Much has changed in the football worlds of Chisholm and Fairview — the quarterbacks, the expectations and less recently, the offenses — but today, the Longhorns are hoping for one more alteration.
Class A No. 9 Fairview (1-0) hosts 2A Chisholm (1-0) in a non-district game at 7:30 tonight with nearly a decade of uninterrupted winning for one of the teams, a trend the Longhorns hope, and perhaps for the first time in years, expect, to reverse.
The series is close overall — 20-15-1 in Fairview’s favor since 1972 — but has tilted decidedly in the Yellowjackets’ favor since 1997. Chisholm has won just twice in that span, in 2002 and 2003, but has largely been on the wrong end of routs, losing the other 14 by an average of a little more than 22 points.
The Jackets’ current streak, seven straight from 2004 up to a 35-12 win in the teams’ most recent meeting last September at Chisholm, encompases the careers of every Chisholm player and of fifth-year head coach Joey Reinart.
The difference this season, some Longhorns said, is a sneaking expectation that between Chisholm’s improvement — from 1-9 in 2011, to 5-5 in 2012 and perhaps better in 2013 — and Fairview’s reliance on promising, but unproven players, might make this the year Chisholm breaks its losing streak.
“Knowing we have a shot at them is big,” said junior receiver/defensive back Austin Swann. “It’s getting everybody fired up at practice like I’ve never seen. The practices this week have been really good compared to any other week. I guess we’ve never really had a shot at Fairview.”
“We’ve progressed over the last few years in order to get to where we should be able to compete with them,” Reinart said. “They’ll have the upper hand. They’ve had our number for several years.”
The biggest piece of the Yellowjackets’ most recent run no longer plays in Fairview. The Yellowjackets graduated 2012 Enid News & Eagle All-Northwest Player of the Year Grant Nightengale. The former Fairview quarterback piled up three touchdowns on 21-for-29 passing with 278 yards and 18 carries for 94 yards in the most recent Yellowjacket win against Chisholm.
Junior Jaden Dillard won the job to replace Nightengale, passing for 89 yards on 7-for-16 passing with 53 yards rushing and one TD apiece through the air and on the ground in his starting debut, a 34-0 win last Friday at Pioneer. But halfway through the second quarter, Pioneer trailed by only six against a Yellowjacket team that routed the Mustangs 63-8 a season earlier.
“Pioneer was playing with them for a while,” Swann said. “They just gave up too many big plays.”
Chisholm junior QB Taggart Brown — already more experienced than Fairview’s Dillard, having had time as a starting quarterback for 6A Stillwater as a sophomore — had a less busy outing in his first start as a Longhorn, if only for it being a shorter one. Brown completed one of three passes, a 23-yard touchdown to Swann, and rushed for 9 yards on three carries before leaving in the second quarter with a foot injury. Brown was limited early this week in practice, but is slated to make his second start today in Fairview.
“I started out jogging a little bit, trying to get loosened up,” Brown said. “I ran the next day, and after that it felt good.”
Chisholm rocketed to a fast start to its 2013 season last week against Oklahoma Bible Academy before slowing to an equally nail-biting finish in both teams’ opener. The Longhorns took a 28-point halftime lead on touchdown runs by Bryce Stewart and Anthony Vallejo and two touchdown catches — one a pass from Brown, the other a Preston Atwood pass intercepted and returned for a score — by Swann.
But OBA’s Chris Walker gashed Chisholm’s defense twice early in the second half, scoring on runs of 33 and 78 yards in the third quarter. A 22-yard Atwood pass to Baylor Boyd narrowed the score to 28-22, before Stewart sealed a 36-22 win with a 9-yard touchdown run late in the fourth.
Much of OBA’s second-half outburst was helped along by second-half cramping in Chisholm’s defensive secondary, with the Longhorns rarely playing three straight snaps with starters at every position, Reinart said, adding those issues have since been addressed.
“Our first-half team against OBA was a lot better than the second half,” Stewart said. “It should be (the team that shows up against Fairview). Fairview’s a good team that we haven’t beat my whole high school career, so it’s gonna be pretty important.”
at No. 9 FAIRVIEW (1-0)
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Series: Fairview leads, 20-15-1
Last: Fairview won 35-12, 2012
Radio: KXLS (95.7 FM)