By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Okeene is hoping for a rerun when the 10-1 Whippets host 9-2 Cashion in a second-round Class A football playoff game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Whippets opened the season by beating the Wildcats 26-14 behind four rushing touchdowns from senior quarterback Scott Dobrinski.
“You’re always a little leary when you’re playing somebody twice and you won the first time,’’ said Okeene head coach Jeff Wardlaw. “It’s hard to beat someone twice. Still, it’s nice to be playing a familiar opponent at your house. That can be an equalizer.’’
Okeene tailback Chase Bedwell went down for the season with a torn ACL in the season-opener. Cashion was without junior running back Dylan Kordelski, and Wildcat sophomore quarterback Matt Harmon was making his first start.
“That sure adds to their team,’’ Wardlaw said about Kordelski. “Both of us have had to shuffle around injuries and settled in on what we have to do to be successful.’’
Okeene, ranked No. 4 in Class A, has won nine straight since a 14-0 loss to Thomas. Cashion has won seven straight since falling to 10-1 Minco, 41-12 on Sept. 27.
“We both have gotten better,’’ Wardlaw said. “It’s going to be a tough game for us, but it’s going to be a tough game for them, too. It ought be a good game.’’
The two teams are 2-2 against each other over the last four years. They will be district opponents for the 2014-15 seasons. The three previous meetings were all decided by a touchdown or less.
The advantage of playing someone previously is knowing how they line up and what they react to in certain situations.
“It still comes down to executing and how the players are playing that night,’’ Wardlaw said. “We’ll see what happens.’’
The Whippets, with 257 yards rushing, were able to control the clock the first meeting. The Wildcats had only seven possessions.
“They were more of a passing team then,’’ Wardlaw said. “That had a lot to do with the running back being injured. They are a little more equal now, but they are capable of throwing the ball well.’’
Kordelski and Kaleb George combined for 274 yards rushing and three touchdowns in a 50-27 win over Rush Springs in the first round last week. Harmon threw for four touchdowns, including 17- and 11-yard scores to Hunter Suntken.
Harmon was 16 of 27 passing for 129 yards and one interception in the first meeting. The Wildcats rushed for 117 yards on 31 carries. Harmon (one) and George (10) had touchdown runs.
Cashion drove to the Okeene four to open the game, only to fumble a snap. The Whippets went on a 96-yard scoring drive and never trailed.
“It was very warm that night,’’ Wardlaw said. “Toward the end it was going to come down to who was going to have the wrong guy cramp at the wrong time. It was a battle of attrition. Both teams were worn down.
“I’m sure (Cashion) coach (Lynn) Shackleford could see a play or two that could have turned the game in their favor. The way it happened, things went good for us.’’
Dobrinski has rushed for 1,351 yards and 21 touchdowns and has thrown for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions this season. He threw for a season-high 193 yards in last week’s 57-22 win over Cordell, including touchdown strikes of 55 yards to Beau Jinkens, 27 yards to Blake Boeckman and five yards to brother Mikey Dobrinski.
Scott Dobrinski scored on runs of 13 and 17 yards.
Cade Mitch, who has rushed for 609 yards and seven scores, had a seven-yard scoring run.
“We’re trying to spread it out more,’’ Wardlaw said. “We’re trying hard to get the passing game going to take a load off the running game. Cade has gotten better and better. The offensive line has gotten better.’’
Cashion has scored 50 or more points five times in its winning streak. Wardlaw said the Wildcat offense is beginning to hit on all cylinders.’’
Okeene’s secondary has 15 interceptions, including one in every game. Scott Dobrinski has five interceptions, while Jinkens has three. Ten different players have contributed to Okeene’s 15 quarterback sacks.
Linebacker Mitchell Howe is the team’s top tackler with 85, followed by Boeckman with 56.
“The defense has been very consistent and very solid all season,’’ Wardlaw said.
Okeene is plus-12 (23-11) in giveaway-takeaway margin. Five of those turnovers came against Thomas. They have had only five turnovers in the last eight weeks.
With rain in the forecast, along with cooler temperatures, weather could play a factor with both teams running out of the shotgun. Okeene goes under center about 50 percent of the time.
Okeene is in the second round for the first time since 2010.
“Every week you’re playing for the extra benefits for all the kids coming back next year,’’ Wardlaw said. “At this time of the year everybody is good or they wouldn’t be there.’’
Okeene would be home for the quarterfinals next week with a win over Cashion and a Talihina win over Hominy. If Hominy and Okeene win, the game will be at Hominy.
The opening win over Cashion help set the tone for Okeene’s 22nd 10-win season since 1970.
“It helped get us on a roll,’’ Wardlaw said. “If we had gone 0-2 (with the loss to Thomas the next week) we would have had to strap the boots on.’’
The game can be heard on KNID (107.1 FM)
Cashion at Okeene
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Records: Cashion (9-2), Okeene (10-1)
Series: Tied 2-2
Last meeting: Okeene won 26-14, Sept. 6.
Next week: vs. Talihina-Hominy winner
Radio: KNID (107.1 FM)Xxxx