COVINGTON-DOUGLAS, Okla. — The Timberlake Tigers will not only seek a road win against Covington-Douglas tonight, but they’ll also be seeking a stronger sense of confidence, something the team lacked during their 2-8 campaign in 2018.
“We got beat up,” Timberlake head coach Brian Severin said of his Tigers’ 44-36 loss to Covington-Douglas last season. “It goes a lot to say about knowing how to win. I’m afraid that we're going to have to kind of learn how to do that, again.”
Severin said for the Tigers to defeat Covington-Douglas, Timberlake will have to execute it’s fundamentals, such as tackling and blocking.
“You just have to do those small things,” he said. “Give yourself a chance to win … Turnovers are big. Whoever hangs onto the ball or doesn’t make mistakes with the ball is going to come out on top.”
For Covington-Douglas to repeat as the victor over Timberlake, head coach Brian Smith said the Wildcats will need to find their offensive identity.
“We got to, you know, kind of start gelling a little bit better,” he said. “Cut down on little mistakes, whether it's a drop pass, a bad snap, a blown read by a quarterback or just some different things that we're trying to fix.”
While both coaches are accustomed to the shortened schedule that comes with a Thursday night game, Smith and Severin said they could use the extra time.
“This week … I don’t feel like we’ve had very good practices on Monday and Tuesday,” Smith said. “Wish we had another normal Wednesday to have our normal practice. But (we) got to deal with it and hopefully be ready by (tonight).”
During the summer, freshman Merrick Judd and sophomore Ethan Jenlink were entrenched in a competition for the starting quarterback spot. The freshman won out and will start Thursday night.
“He makes for a real good runner and (he) carries the ball well, a good athlete,” Severin said of Judd. “Granted, he’s a freshman, which scares me a bit. But, you know, we all got to start somewhere.”
“With a freshman quarterback, obviously, you would like to add an extra week, for sure an extra day,” Severin said.
While it can be nerve-wracking to start a freshman quarterback in Week 1, Severin trusts Judd’s mettle.
"He's been (playing quarterback) his whole life,” Severin said. "He’s quarterbacked ever since he was third grade … He's got makeup to be a quarterback and he’s got the mentality to be a quarterback. I think he'll be okay.”
Severin added that should Judd struggle, he has confidence in his sophomore backup, Jenlink.
“I feel pretty good about either one,” Severin said.
During the summer, Smith said he wanted Covington-Douglas' defense to improve its ability to stop offenses on third and fourth down, an area he said. The Wildcats performed well during preseason scrimmages against teams like Cherokee.
“I thought we made them work for everything,” Smith said.
While there are some things to correct, Smith said he believes he likes where his “defense is right now.”
I really feel like the defense is probably ahead of our offense right now,” he said.
Timberlake and Covington-Douglas kickoff Thursday at 7 p.m.
Garber faces ‘an enigma’
Beaver has size and recently switched from 11 to 8-man football.
Those are two details Garber will know for sure when the Wolverines host Beaver Friday night to open the season.
Head coach Koy Hughes said he and his team have only seen one film of Beaver’s scrimmage last week.
“It’s kind of an enigma,” he said. “You kind of don’t really know what’s going to show up because, in scrimmage film, there are no numbers, so it’s hard to associate numbers with names.”
Hughes did notice that Beaver carries a lot of size, such as its tight end, which Hughes said is a 6-5, 200-plus pound target.
“We’re really going to have to key in on him,” he said.
Since the outward knowledge is lacking, the Wolverines will focus more on themselves in preparation for Friday night’s game. Hughes installed a new offense which Garber has run all spring and summer long. There were plenty of positives Hughes took from last weekend’s scrimmage, but he did highlight some technical issues his offenses needed to fix.
“That’s what we’ve really focused on this week, is fixing us,” he said.
Beaver and Garber kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday.
Kremlin-Hillsdale opens with homecoming
The Broncs host Deer Creek Lamont for a home-opening homecoming game on Friday.
Head coach Tyler Severin said the homecoming date was the best option for Kremlin-Hillsdale’s schedule.
“We can focus on this one and play hard for homecoming,” he said. “And kind of set the tone.”
DCLA, now led by head coach Justin Schanbacher, defeated Kremlin-Hillsdale by more than two possessions last season in a game Tyler Severin said came down to “who wanted it more.”
“Last year, from the get-go, they were all over us,” he said. “So, we need to be the one that does that this time.”
Kremlin-Hillsdale will start a freshman quarterback in Maddox Myers. Severin said Myers threw the ball well during the preseason scrimmages, albeit with a “few freshman mistakes.”
“(He) looked just about as good or better than what we’ve had in the past several years, even as a freshman,” he said.
Kremlin-Hillsdale and DCLA kickoff at 7 p.m. Friday night.