Longhorns looking for fast start and end to 4-game skid

Chisholm's John Sheppard pressures Luther's Braden Browning Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, at Chisholm High School.

ENID, Okla. — Chisholm looks to break its longest losing streak in nine years when it visits Perry at 7 p.m. Friday in a District 2A-1 contest.

The Longhorns (1-4, 0-2) have lost four straight games and have been shut out two straight weeks after last week's 40-0 loss at home to Luther. The current skid is their longest since losing the last nine games of the season in 2011 when Chisholm finished 1-9. The Longhorns' only win this year also came in the opening game.

"We're trying to get our head above water a little bit," said Chisholm head coach Joey Reinart on Thursday. It's certainly nothing the Longhorns' 11th-year head coach hasn't dealt with before.

"Every season presents its own challenges and this one has its own challenges, but we're still as a team putting our head down and grinding and trying to do what we know that we can do and keep coaching our kids as hard as we can," he said.

The Longhorns' run game in particular has struggled. As a team Chisholm is averaging only 3.1 yards per carry. Chisholm was held to 84 yards in total offense, including only seven yards rushing, in last week's loss.

"It's been across the board just trying to get the ball moving right now," Reinart said of Chisholm's offensive struggles. "The focus has just been on the mentality and being able to try to move the ball to set up our passing game."

To do that, Reinart said a particular focus has been on the players up front.

"We're working on the offensive line mentality," he said. "You know, coming off the ball, being physical and working on our edge blockers ... we really worked hard on that this week. We have to run the football in order to set up anything else."

Chisholm will be looking to get off to a faster start or at least not find itself down big early.

"Getting down, getting behind is a not a great start for us," Reinart said. "Against Luther we gave up 27 points in the first half. We're not built for that. Once we make a big mistake and go down 14-0, now we're pressing the issue and trying to get back in the game and that's not really how we're set up to be so we've got to try to get out on a good start, don't allow a big play and keep grinding the rest of the game."

The Longhorns will be facing a Maroons (2-2, 1-0) team that has won its last two games after starting 0-2. Perry defeated Blackwell 51-14 last week and Tonkawa 39-26 on Sept. 11. Perry's game against Hennessey on Sept. 25 was canceled with Hennessey in COVID-19 quarantine.

Perry's offense centers around senior quarterback Brody Harbour who, while only completing 46.7% of his passes, has passed for 552 yards and five touchdowns. He also is the team's leading rusher with 294 yards on the ground and another four touchdowns. Senior receiver Carson Rames has been his top target with 13 catches for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

"They're pretty solid running the ball," Reinart said. "They have a great athlete at quarterback. You have to contain their really explosive players and not allow big plays."

It will only be Chisholm's second road game of the season and first since visiting Kingfisher on Sept. 11.

"It's been a while, some four weeks since we've been (on the road)," Reinart said. "Maybe going on the road takes your mind off it, maybe focus a little bit more."

Reinart said the Longhorns have experienced some injuries, but nothing of a significant nature, but enough that it has had an impact.

"Whether it's a hip flexor for this person this week or a knee or an ankle, it's just the inconsistency of not having all the weapons there for consecutive weeks."

He said the attitude of the team remains positive.

"They understand there's still a lot to be done this season, we're not at the end of the road here," Reinart said. "Injuries have bitten us at times and we have had to plug in different guys, whether it has been for injuries or quarantine or whatever.

"All we can do is keep plugging, keep coaching. All of those things."

Chisholm defeated Perry 41-14 last season. The long-running series is tied 17-17, however Chisholm has won the last eight games between the schools.

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Ruthenberg is sports editor for the Enid News & Eagle.

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