Chiefs hosting surging Red Devils

Waukomis' Wyatt Felber carries the ball against Garber Sept. 3 at Waukomis High School. (Billy Hefton / Enid News & Eagle)

WAUKOMIS, Okla. — Two teams headed in different directions will meet Friday when Waukomis (0-6, 0-1, District B-2) hosts Ringwood (3-4, 2-0) in a 7 p.m. kickoff. It will be Waukomis' final home game.

The visiting Red Devils, who started the season 0-4, are coming off back-to-back wins over Okeene (34-14) and Pond Creek-Hunter (30-6). Waukomis has lost 17 straight, including a 36-22 loss to Kremlin-Hillsdale last week.

"I feel like we have some work to do,'' said Ringwood coach James Worley. "They (Waukomis) are making people earn their points. They are still fighting. Their coaches still have them playing hard and playing physical right at you. That's a testament to their kids.''

Waukomis had season highs in rushing (207), total offense (286) and points (22) against the Broncs, only to be thwarted by four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble).

"Those really hurt our offensive production,'' Waukomis head coach Mark Timberlake said. "We laid it on the ground at the most inopportune moments. We need to be more proficient offensively. Anytime you are sitting on losses, morale is a little lower than you would like. We're still hungry for a win. We fought until the end. We're eager for this week's game. It's an opportunity to get better and improve ourselves.''

Worley said the first half was a learning time for his young Red Devils who concentrated on improvement and setting goals for each game. His freshmen and sophomores were undefeated in middle school, so he had been cautiously optimistic.

"We came together a little late and a little slow, but we keep getting better each week,'' he said.

Quarterback Jaxon Meyer had a seven-yard touchdown run last week against Pond Creek-Hunter. Avery Wallace had touchdown runs of 51, 8 and 32. Wallace has scored 13 touchdowns this season. Meyer has nine TD passes.

"Jaxon is coming around nicely,'' Worley said. "He is learning his reads and he is an option threat. He has been a vocal leader and has done a good job of checking down on his reads. He is becoming more comfortable with his legs and arms and eyes, but his leadership has been awfully important.''

Wallace has emerged as the Ringwood go-to back either as a runner or a receiver. He has the ability, Worley said, to either be a big play runner or someone that can make a cut to get a first down.

The win over Pond Creek-Hunter last week was the first time the Red Devils had beaten the Panthers since 2011. The win put Ringwood atop the B-2 standings at 2-0.

"You don't play Pond Creek-Hunter and get that outcome every year,'' Worley said. "I told our guys how important that win was to the district standings. It means we need to stay on track each week. Each week becomes the most important week of the season.''

Timberlake has been using a quarterback rotation of Dakota Hines, Thad Terrel and Ricky Woodruff. He is undecided who he will use Friday.

"Each one of them brings something different,'' he said. "We're looking to get production from each of them. We want all of them to bring what they need to bring when we call on them.''

Wyatt Felber had touchdown runs of eight and five yards last week and caught an eight-yard TD pass from Hines. Timberlake praised the play of both Felber and Tyler Vanover.

"They both had a good, physical presence,'' Timberlake said. "When we needed a stop, both of them were there.''

Waukomis will be without guard-end Cooper Wieden (thumb).

Worley said the Red Devils will be focused on each week's opponent and of a new OSSAA playoff plan where all teams will qualify for the playoffs. Only the Waukomis-Cherokee game has been lost to COVID-19, so the standings likely will determine the playoff order. Ringwood, with a win, would set up a showdown with Cherokee (1-0) next week.

"It's nice for everyone to get to the playoffs, but I'm not sure it's best for everybody,'' Worley said. "Only time will tell whether we will see the benefits or not. Winning will be our plan for sure.''

Timberlake said the new system "takes the flair out of making the playoffs,'' but is not against it.

"I know it doesn't make any basketball coaches happy,'' Timberlake said, "but when it comes down to it, it's for the kids. They all get an extra game now to develop not only as football players but as people. For teams like us who have missed a game because of COVID, it gives them an opportunity to make the playoffs and shake things up.''

Waukomis is having a "pink out'' for cancer awareness for Friday's game. Timberlake said fans of both schools are encouraged to wear as much pink as they can.

The Chiefs will be wearing military-type jerseys to honor the armed forces. They are still looking to reschedule The Warriors for Freedom game which was scheduled for the Cherokee game, a victim of COIVD-19.

Ringwood won last year's game, 40-14, but the Chiefs lead the overall series, 11-5. They have won four of the last six meetings.

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Campbell is a former sports writer and current part-time writer for the News & Eagle,

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Graduate of Oklahoma City John Marshall (1972) and University of Oklahoma. Been at News & Eagle since June 19, 1978. Previously worked at Oklahoma Journal, Midland, Texas Reporter & Telegram, Norman Transcript, Elk City Daily News

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