County: Barnsdall challenge for Covington-Douglas; Garber loses Nease for season

Covington-Douglas' Weston Carl looks for a receiver against Timberlake Aug. 27, 2020, at Timberlake High School. 

COVINGTON, Okla. — Covington-Douglas, riding a five-game winning streak, should find out if it's a contender or a pretender in the District B-7 race when the Wildcats host 5-1 Barnsdall in a 7 p.m. kickoff Thursday.

The Wildcats have beaten only one team with a winning record (5-1 Medford) during the streak with the other victories coming against 2-4 Ringwood, 0-4 Deer Creek-Lamont, 0-5 Waukomis and 2-4 Yale, 60-14 last week. Covington-Douglas' lone loss was to No. 1 Class C Timberlake, 54-48 on Aug. 27.

Barnsdall was 9-4 and made the Class A quarterfinals a year ago until dropping down to Class B this season. The Panthers have won three straight after falling to Summit Christian, 34-28 on Sept. 18. They shut out Olive, 47-0 in their district opener.

"Barnsdall has gotten our attention," said Covington-Douglas coach Brian Smith. "They had a lot of success in 11-man and they are bringing back 12 seniors who know how to play and how to win. They are a very big, very physical team. We will have our hands full. We will have to play extremely well to pull off an upset."

Barnsdall is averaging 50.2 points per game, while allowing 16 points per contest.

Tailback Hunter Auschwitz is a 5-foot-9, 205-pound bowling ball type runner, Smith said.

Smith estimates Barnsdall runs the ball 70 percent of the time. Auschwitz and Weber are averaging a combined 300 yards a game rushing.

"If Auschwitz gets a head of steam, we're in trouble," Smith said. "Their quarterback (Keegan Marin) throws the ball well enough to keep you honest but they will try to beat you on the ground if they can,"

Covington-Douglas is allowing 132.5 yards per game on the ground. Smith said he is hopeful the Wildcats can match up physically with the Panthers.

"We're going to give it our best shot and hope we can get a few breaks along the way and win the turnover battle," Smith said. "I don't know if they can match up with our athleticism. We have to match up with their physicality. We don't want to get in a bloodbath with them and lose."

The Wildcats are averaging 54 points, 201.8 yards rushing and 258.6 yards passing per game. They have had back-to-back 500-yard plus games the last two weeks in total offense. They have not lost a fumble the past five weeks and have thrown only one interception. They have caused 20 turnovers the past five weeks — nine interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries.

"We're clicking on all cylinders," Smith said. "We hope we can continue that as long as we can."

Smith's son, Parker, was clicking on all cyclinders in the Yale win as he scored seven touchdowns with 220 yards rushing and 201 yards receiving. He was filling in for A.J. Kegin at fullback.

"It was a proud moment for me," Smith said. "Parker is a kid that has worked extremely hard in the weight room and he watches a lot of film on his own. He has deserved everything he has gotten. He is a pretty danged good athlete and he is tough to bring down in the open field.

"We delivered the ball well to him and the offensive line (Payton Mitchell, Hunter Kegin and Cameron Smith) open up the holes pretty well for him and gave Weston (quarterback Carl) time to throw.

A.J. Kegin will be back at full strength for Thursday. Smith said C-D will have all 26 players suited up for the first time since zero week.

Covington-Douglas has been out of school this week. Power has been shut off in the main building. Homecoming is another distraction.

"Everything is messed up but this group can handle it," Smith said. "We were Medford, Waukomis and Yale's homecoming opponent and we handled all those well. We have a lot of juniors and seniors that don't get caught up in that stuff."

This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Garber loses Nease for season

Versatile Holt Nease of Garber, a four-year starter, is out for the season after he suffered a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle in a 68-34 loss to Pioneer on Friday.

Lucas Steinert is expected to start in Nease's place at slot receiver in the Wolverines' homecoming game with Yale Thursday. He will be replaced by a rotation of Dave Nagel, Shawn Martin and Dawson Nagel at corner. Garber has enough depth where it has rotated at both positions this season.

"We hate to lose Holt, but now it's next man up," said Garber coach Koy Hughes. "Holt had his best game of the season against Pioneer (150 yards receiving). You hate to see any kid get hurt, but you especially feel for a kid like Holt."

Nease was scheduled to have surgery Tuesday. Hughes hopes he can be back for baseball as the school's starting center fielder and No. 3 hole hitter. His recovery is expected to be anywhere from four to five months.

The Pioneer loss was Garber's first blemish in four games. It led 34-30 late in the third quarter before Pioneer scored 38 unanswered points. Garber hadn't played since Sept. 18 because Covid 19 restrictions.

"We just ran out of gas," Hughes said. "When you're playing a team like Pioneer that is so big and physical, you can't get tired or they will maul you and that's what happened."

Garber quarterback Ty Bennett threw for a season-high 252 yards and two touchdowns. David Nagel had more than 100 yards receiving. Ty Chester scored twice.

"I think we should be ready to go," Hughes said. "We're definitely not where we want to be now, but we're getting back on track."

Yale has lost four straight after opening the season 2-0. They fell to Covington-Douglas, 60-14 in its district opener. DeSean Richey scored twice.

The Bulldogs run a 2-2-4 defensive alignment — something Garber doesn't see too often.

"They come at you at every angle," Hughes said. "We will have to do our jobs and play hard."

Garber and Yale last played in 2005 — a 38-28 Wolverine win. Garber leads the 8-man series, 2-0.

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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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