ENID, Okla. — The Plainsmen will have a rare opportunity to start the season 3-0 when they visit Class 5A Lawton MacArthur for their third-straight, non-district road game to start the season.
An Enid win Thursday night at Lawton Mac would be the first such season-opening streak since the 2008 team went 8-3 and reached the playoffs. It will be the first meeting between the schools.
While Thursday’s game brings an end to the non-district part of the schedule, that doesn’t mean Enid is approaching the game any differently and certainly with no thought of holding back in any sense.
“There’s not any holding back in Enid,” said Plainsmen head coach Rashaun Woods said with a bemused laugh. “That’s just the wrong way to go about it. Every game is going to be a game that we have to get after the guys in order to get a victory. We’re not at that level where we can say maybe not come out with guns blazing and win by 30. That’s just not realistic. We’ve got to play hard every week to win a game. We’re trying to win every game regardless if this is a district game. That’s where we are ... and that’s how we will approach this game.”
Woods took advantage of Enid’s open week following the Plainsmen’s 19-17 win at Ponca City that raised the team’s record to 2-0 and scouted the Highlanders’ game last week against Class 6A2 Lawton
The Highlanders (1-1) were routed by Lawton, a consistent 6A2 power, 55-14 after falling behind 41-0 at halftime. It was a stark contrast to Lawton Mac’s opener when it downed Lawton Eisenhower, 55-34.
“It just confirmed what I already suspected,” Woods said of his scouting trip. “They can run a bit. They can do some things. Lawton Mac definitely struggled against Lawton, which has consistently been a tough team to beat and they showed that.”
The Highlanders have several playmakers and though they struggled, Woods said they will still need to have Enid’s attention.
“They have a couple kids that are really hard to handle in space, so we have to make sure we do it by committee,” he said. Does Woods feel comfortable in getting that done?
“That’s the plan,” he said. “You never really feel comfortable about it. We work hard at in practice every day and let the guys know how important it is to do their assignment.”
The Highlanders were limited to only 134 yards rushing as Nasir Kemper and Isaiah Gray were kept in check, and 71 yards passing. The teams combined for 26 penalties.
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball and throw it,” Woods said. “We’re a pretty balanced football team. If we can control the clock, keep their offense off the field and make big plays in the passing game, that’s the formula for success we try for every week.”
The Plainsmen showed just that in their comeback win over Ponca City two weeks ago. They dominated the clock in the second half behind a stout defensive effort and a time-consuming running game led by Johnny Villa’s 124 yards, with his second touchdown of the night being the only score in the second half.
“When we did run the ball and didn’t have penalties, we were very efficient and we moved the ball extremely well,” Woods said. “I was happy to see that.”
The passing game saw quarterback Blake Priest distribute the ball with five different receivers hauling in passes. Senior receiver Maddux Mayberry scored a touchdown for the second straight week, while Cam Mathis and Tykie Andrews each led the team with four receptions apiece.
“He’s very efficient,” Woods said regarding Blake’s performance. “He did what he needed to do. He put the ball where it needed to go.”
However, the margin of victory likely would have been larger without Enid shooting itself in the foot a few times, including being penalized 15 times.
“The accountability part of it (penalties) is something we need to be doing every day and we were able to use that extra week to refocus on that,” Woods said.
But Woods said it is something that goes deeper than the past two weeks.
“It’s just not paying attention to the details,” he said. “As a coaching staff that falls on us, and kids over the years have not been held accountable for those mistakes, so they’re going to continue if you don’t address it. It’s just kind of something that we all have to pay attention to and force ourselves to correct because you can otherwise fall into that as being the norm.”
The Plainsmen are mostly healthy entering their game against Lawton Mac.
Woods said the team has a few players that are “banged up here and there, but all-in-all we’re in a situation where we should have success (Thursday night).”
Thursday’s 7 p.m. game can be heard on KCRC (1390 AM). Channel 19 on Suddenlink will carry Lawton MacArthur’s live stream.