WAUKOMIS, Okla. — An 0-4 start and a 46-6 loss to rival Pioneer hasn't dampened Waukomis' Mark Timberlake's spirits as his team prepares for Friday's 7 p.m. homecoming game with 3-1 Covington-Douglas.
"The best part about the Pioneer game was that we fought until the final whistle,'' Timberlake said. "That's something that can't be taught. I was proud of them for that. We put a lot better product on the field against Pioneer than we did against Timberlake (a 56-6 mercy rule loss the week before). I felt a lot better coming off the field because the kids played with grit and some pride. They gave everything they had and left it all on the field. That's what it's all about — giving everything you got until the final whistle and progressing instead of regressing.''
Waukomis' four losses have come against teams with a combined 12-1 record and two teams in the Class C top five (No. 1 Timberlake and No. 5 Waynoka). Covington-Douglas, 3-1, has only lost to Timberlake, 54-48.
"We're doing all right,'' Timberlake said. "They have been focused on getting better. As long as we keep improving on that, we will be where we want to be in a few weeks when it matters.''
Waukomis — thanks to both injuries and non-football related matters — was down to 13 players against Pioneer. It is expected to suit up 15 against the Wildcats.
"We don't have a lot of depth right now,'' Timberlake said. "We have had a lot of players go both ways. It came down to us executing. We had an opportunity to keep it competitive and we didn't. Pioneer capitalized on every mistake that we made.''
Ricky Woodruff replaced Thad Terrel at quarterback after halftime and threw a scoring pass. Wesley Felber ran for 54 yards on seven carries. Timberlake said Terrel will start at quarterback Friday.
"We had to throw it more against Pioneer,'' Timberlake said. "We definitely need to get the ball to Felber more.''
Covington-Douglas' balanced offense is averaging 227.5 yards passing and 185.3 yards rushing. Quarterback Weston Carl has thrown for seven scores and has ran for three more. A.J. Kegin has rushed for seven touchdowns. Parker Smith has four touchdowns receiving and two rushing.
Smith said the Wildcats don't look at the Chiefs as an 0-4 team.
"They will pose some problems for people down the road, including us,'' Smith said. "They are a very ground-oriented team that tries to eat the clock. We don't want them to keep the ball five to six minutes.''
It will be the final non-district test for the Wildcats, who have won three straight since the Timberlake loss.
"We're playing well,'' Smith said. "We're raising the bar on what we expect out of our kids. We're coming in with a fire in our belly. We want to continue to improve and keep a good thing going.''
After allowing 241 yards rushing to Timberlake in Week 1, the Wildcats have allowed an average of only 44 yards the past three weeks. DCLA had minus one yard rushing in a 58-6 loss to C-D last week
"We're excited about the way we're playing on both sides of the ball,'' Smith said. "We're getting a lot of hats on the ball. We have a plus-15 on turnovers the past three weeks and that's almost unheard of. We're excited about our effort level. It's been the same with special teams. We have been aggressive and swarming the football.''
Luke Wichert scored the Wildcats' second defensive touchdown of the season on a 14-yard fumble recovery against DCLA. He also forced a fumble. Wichert, while a utility player, is getting starting player playing time as he goes in at fullback, outside linebacker and defensive end allowing Smith to rotate. He backs up James Kroll at tight end.
"He's played a lot of snaps,'' Smith said. "He's Mr. Utility for us.''
C-D scored 50 unanswered points after DCLA scored on its second possession on a one-yard run by Paladin Compala.
"We started slow,'' Smith said. "I don't know if it was because it was Senior Night. We overcame that and adapted and played our game.''
It will be the Wildcats' final game before starting District B-7 play at Yale on Oct. 9.
Waukomis has won the last three meetings, including a 36-28 decision in 2017, and leads the series, 5-3.