POND CREEK, Okla. — Kremlin-Hillsdale coach Tyler Severin doesn’t see Pond Creek-Hunter’s two-week quarantine because of COVID-19 as being an advantage for his Broncs when they visit the 1-2 Panthers Friday in the District B-2 opener for both teams.
“It could be tough for them, but at the same time that means they will be more hungry to play and ready to go,’’ Severin said. “They hadn’t played in a while, so they obviously will be fired up for it.’’
The Panthers practiced Friday for the first time since Sept. 23. They had a game with Garber canceled on Sept. 25 after a Pond Creek-Hunter student (non-football player) came down with the coronavirus. They had a bye last week, but all the high school students were quarantined.
“It’s been a long two weeks for us for sure,’’ said Panthers coach David Kerr. “It wasn’t bad yesterday. They were supposed to do some stuff on their own.’’
The one positive, Kerr said, was the Panthers were able to get healed up physically after some players had issues with ankle injuries.
Kerr was able to see the Broncs beat Olive, 40-6 on Sept. 25. The Broncs had a bye last week.
Kerr communicated with his team through text messages. Players were able to watch film on HUDL.
“We have had a lot of weird circumstances,’’ said Kerr, whose Sept. 4 game at DCLA was another victim of COVID-19. “I’m sure they got some good practices in last week. That will give them an advantage. I was already much impressed with how their kids are coming off the ball. Coach Severin and Coach (Nathan) Nance have them going in the right direction.’’
The Broncs (2-3) haven’t beaten the Panthers since 2003. Pond Creek-Hunter has won the last eight meetings and lead the 8-man series, 19-10.
“They have a mental edge over a lot of people because they have been so good,’’ Severin said. “We have to match their intensity and get after it and prove to ourselves that they can do it. The boys have played hard over the last two years. Hopefully, we have gotten better talent wise and get those two together where we can show we can play them.’’
Kerr said the Broncs are a different team. He points out the Broncs played Medford (38-28 to 56-36) closer than the Panthers.
“Kremlin-Hillsdale had a chance to win that game,’’ Kerr said. “We all knew what Medford did to us and how well they played against Medford. We have to be ready.’’
Kremlin-Hillsdale’s Nic Snodgrass has rushed for nine touchdowns. Quarterback Maddox Myers threw touchdown passes of 58 yards to Andrew Wheeler and seven yards to Zac Snodgrass against Olive while running for another score.
The Panthers allowed 397 yards rushing in a 50-0 loss to Buffalo and 226 yards rushing and 209 passing in the Medford loss.
Safety Corbin Burnham is the lone starter back in his normal position from last year. Having spring practice and summer camps wiped out by COVID-19 hurt the Panthers’ development.
“We didn’t get those two or three extra weeks to get used to new positions,’’ Kerr said. “That is not an excuse. Everybody is in the same boat. We have had some bad things happen because of so much inexperience.’’
Burnham has thrown for nine touchdowns — five to John Theophilus and four to Zander Clayton. Clayton has run for another four scores.
“They can still score at any time,’’ Severin said. “They are pretty balanced. That scares me a little bit.’’
Beating Pond Creek-Hunter and winning the district opener “would be a good morale boost,’’ Severin said.
“We’re hoping we can make some noise,’’ Severin said. “We want to have a good showing against Pond Creek-Hunter and see what happens after that.’’
Wildcats open district with Yale
Covington-Douglas will be going for its fifth straight win when the 4-1 Wildcats visit 2-3 Yale at 7 p.m. Friday in the District B-7 opener for both teams.
The Wildcats had a bye last week.
“We had wanted to keep playing because we didn’t want to get out of our routine but the kids adapted well and it gave us a chance to work on different things and focus on Yale for an extra week,” said Wildcats head coach Brian Smith.
The Bulldogs have had an up-and-down year, opening the season with wins over Drumright, 30-0 and Coyle, 46-0, followed by losses to Depew (16-8), Regent Prep (48-0) and No. 3 Davenport, 52-5.
Yale has a “very physical’’ offensive and defensive line, Smith said. Fullback Nick Harris is a solid blocker who can catch the ball out of the backfield.
“We match up well in some areas and they match up well with us in some areas,’’ Smith said. “We might not be able to out-physical them, but we can out-athletic them and use that to our advantage. It comes down to execution and getting them off their heels so we can take advantage of our speed on offense and defense.’’
The Wildcats have averaged 52.8 points, 193.6 yards rushing and 248 yards passing per game. They have allowed only four touchdowns in the four-game winning streak and have forced 17 turnovers (seven interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries).
Quarterback Weston Carl has thrown for 13 touchdowns and has run for four more. Parker Smith has scored nine touchdowns — six receiving and three running. A.J. Kegin has rushed for seven touchdowns.
“The kids are in the right frame of mind,’’ Smith said. “They are looking to improve and not be satisfied with what we’re doing. We want to host a playoff game (first or second in district). We can’t look too far ahead. We have to get better each and every week because our district is so tough from top to bottom. It’s really going to be interesting the next five to seven weeks.’’
Yale beat Covington-Douglas, 35-14 in 2000 — the only time the two teams have played in the last 50 years.