OBA big underdog at home against No. 1 Cashion

Oklahoma Bible Academy's Jakob Colby and Ethan Small combine with other defenders to stop Watonga's Joe Jackson on a fourth and goal Oct. 2, 2020, at OBA.

ENID, Okla. — Oklahoma Bible Academy (5-2 overall and 3-1 in District A-3), riding a three-game winning streak, hosts No. 1-ranked Cashion (7-0, 2-0) in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Commitment Field.

The visiting Wildcats own a 34-game regular season winning streak dating back to a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma Christian Academy on Sept. 1, 2017. They have outscored opponents, 319-69.

“Our kids relish being the underdog a little bit,’’ said OBA head coach Chris Cayot. “There’s not a lot of pressure on us as far as expectations. We can go in relaxed with no pressure on us. That’s as far as you can go when you’re playing a team that good.’’

Only the Stillwater JV (40-27) has come within three touchdowns of the Wildcats, who have held the top spot in Class A all season. Cashion has beaten Watonga, 54-12 and OCA, 64-0 in A-3 play this season. OBA beat those two teams by scores of 34-7 and 27-0.

Quarterback Ben Harman, who guided Cashion to last year’s Class A championship game, threw for three touchdowns — two to Mason Manning — in a 28-7 win over now No. 5 Thomas on Sept. 18. He was 13 of 17 for 179 yards and one score in a 47-0 rout of Minco on Sept. 11. Running back Caden Harrell had 57 yards on eight carries and scored three touchdowns in that game.

Senior receiver Brexten Green had 198 yards receiving and four touchdowns in a 49-13 rout of 2A Perry on Sept. 4.

“Their quarterback is good,’’ Cayot said. “They throw it well enough where they haven’t had to run it that much, but No. 9 (Harrell) is really good. They have a great coaching staff that has established a program and developed their kids really well. They get after you with a tough, aggressive style of football.’’

OBA is coming off back-to-back shutout wins (OCA 27-0 and Hinton 37-0) for the first time since 2013.

The Trojans have allowed an average of 149.6 yards rushing and 97.7 yards passing per game. They have allowed only four TD passes this season and none in the last four games. They have seven interceptions and eight fumble recoveries.

“We’re just happy to be relatively healthy with our starters going into it,’’ Cayot said. “That is about all you can ask for as far as matching up with them.’’

OBA, though, will be facing a far different offense than it’s faced the past three weeks when they have stopped option oriented teams.

“The kids have taken the different schemes that Coach (defensive coordinator James) Cheatham has put in and have done a good job of stopping the option,’’ Cayot said. “We just executed the game plans against those teams. Staying healthy has been a huge thing. I feel like we have been blessed that we have been able to keep playing since the opening week of the season.

Middle linebacker Cole Davis, who had five solo and one assisted stop against Hinton, has been the ringleader of the defense.

“He has done a good job of getting off blocks and finding the ball,’’ Cayot said. “Our guys up front have played well, especially last week against a team that was pretty big.’’

Sophomore quarterback Bodie Boydstun was 12 of 19 against Hinton for a season-high 241 yards, including a 10-yard strike to Jud Cheatham. Connor Colby had seven receptions for 147 yards.

Senior Jett Cheatham rushed for 129 yards on 11 carries and four touchdowns to give him 19 for the season. Boydstun has thrown for nine scores and has run for five more.

Cheatham and Colby have become a solid 1-2 punch — Cheatham being used often as a decoy has opened things up for others.

“Conner Colby has really been coming on,’’ Cayot said. “He is a really athletic young man and he and Jett have been pushing each other. They run track together and they are like two peas in a pod. Both of them are really athletic and challenge each other in the weight room and in workouts. It’s nice to see him step up and have a bigger role when people focus on Jett.’’

Cashion has allowed an average of only 9.9 points a game with two shutouts.

“Their defense is really aggressive and they are really good tacklers,’’ Cayot said.

Putting their best foot forward will be even more important for OBA now that there will be a new playoff format.

Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association announced this week playoff positions would be by rankings from coaches instead of actual records. District A-3 has lost only one game (Cashion vs. Hinton) because of COVID-19 regulations but other districts have not been so lucky. All teams will have the option of going to the playoffs

OBA, at 3-1, would have qualified for the playoffs in the old format. They trailed Tonkawa (3-0) and Cashion (2-0) and would be a half-game ahead of Crescent, whom they lost to 27-20 on Sept. 25. OBA plays Tonkawa on Nov. 6 in its final district game.

Cayot favors the new OSSAA plan pointing out “just going by district wins was a crazy deal.’’

“We have great coaches in our district,’’ Cayot said. “They understand football and situations. I honestly feel better having it in those guys hands than going to a system where we weren’t accustomed to.’’

Cashion leads the series, 7-1 with the Trojans’ lone win coming in 2004, 21-14. The Wildcats have won the last five meetings by an average margin of 31.8 points.

There are forecasts of possible bad weather.

“They say bad weather helps the underdog,’’ he said. “I don’t know ... We both like to throw the ball around it. If it (weather) causes turnovers either way, it will affect the game and that’s a big deal. The kids are excited and ready to see what happens.’’

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

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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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