The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 2, 2013

Waukomis’ Crites a special teams weapon

WAUKOMIS, Okla. — Waukomis will have a “special weapon’’ when the Chiefs host No. 2-ranked Pond Creek-Hunter at 7:30 tonight in a District B-1 contest.

Sophomore Justus Crites had kickoff returns of 95 and 76 yards for touchdowns in a 61-50 loss to Seiling last week. He just missed a third when the last man got him on a shoestring tackle.

“I never had anyone do that before,’’ said Waukomis coach Jon Claborn, who gave out awards to all special team members. “It was pretty special.’’

Crites had kickoff returns for scores against Kremlin-Hillsdale and Garber as well. Seiling coach Bruce Hendrickson called Crites “maybe the best player in the district’’ before the game.

“He has good vision and speed,’’ Claborn said of Crites. “He has really good footwork in the open field. He’s hard to tackle because he’s so good about making people miss. He cuts back really well in the open field.’’

Quarterback Crites has rushed for five touchdowns in the Chiefs’ three district games, but his skills come out even more as a kick returner.

“Kickoffs are the best opportunity to showcase those skills,’’ Claborn said. “It’s hard to do when you’re under center. When he can get in a situation where he’s one-on-one or two-on-one, he can use that space between him and the defender to use that ability.’’

The only trouble is Crites may be getting too many opportunities to return kicks. The Chiefs are allowing 61.3 points per game.

“But it’s a great counterpunch,’’ Claborn said. “When somebody has a six-to-eight play drive to score and you run one back, it takes a little bit of wind out of their sails.’’

The Chiefs’ (1-3 overall and 0-3 in district) district losing streak hit 13 with the Seiling loss. Claborn, though, could see some positives.

The Chiefs were driving when the game ended. They had 266 yards rushing and another 147 in the air.

“We were down 21 at one point, but the kids never quit,’’ Claborn said. “We got a few stops and we were chipping away at the lead. We’re still learning, we’re still trying to get better.’’

Crites has thrown touchdown passes to four different receivers — Riley Williams, Zach Prince, Aaron Harrington and Chance Mullens.

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