Plainsmen battle, but fall 42-24 to Millers

Enid's Blake Priest scrambles out of the pocket against Jenks at D. Bruce Selby Stadium in this Oct. 4, 2019, file photo.

YUKON — The Enid Plainsmen dropped their second straight game of the season on the road against Yukon, 42-24 in a District 6A1-1contest on Friday.

Enid found itself down by two touchdowns heading into halftime after giving up 28 first half points to Yukon’s flexbone offense. On Yukon’s second play from scrimmage, junior running back Makari Slaughter broke loose around the right side and went 57 yards for the touchdown.

While the Plainsmen (2-2, 0-1) did a good job of slowing down the run game between the tackles, the team struggled to contain runs to the outside.

“At times we were able to play (the option) extremely well,” Enid head coach Rashaun Woods said after the game, ”We were able to control the dive back today and for the most part we could control the quarterback, but the pitch guy on the outside sweep ended up being a problem when it got to the perimeter and they were just faster than we were. At the end of the day it’s about getting those (outside) guys bigger, faster stronger.”

Slaughter finished the game with two rushing touchdowns, the second coming on a 79-yard run in which he went virtually untouched into the end zone.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Plainsmen found success feeding their two-headed monster at running back. Johnny Villa and Hunter Filarski took the bulk of the load in the ground game and were able to find openings in Yukon’s front seven.

“They did a great job for us,” Woods said. “They’re senior guys that are reading the blocks right and running hard for us, we’re glad to have them. I wish I had them for four years.”

But it was untimely penalties that kept Enid from climbing back into the game early. In the first quarter the Plainsmen had the ball as far as the Yukon 3-yard line before a false start penalty put the offense behind the sticks again, forcing them to kick a 20-yard field goal by Andreas Alatorre.

Enid running back Johnny Villa scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter to cut the Millers’ lead to 14-10. Yukon went on to close out the half 14-0 after a 22-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Brayden Dutton to sophomore receiver Chaz Bradley and a 2-yard run by Logan Grulkey.

Woods says that his team had opportunities to cut into Yukon’s lead before the half, but were unable to get out of their own way.

“In all honesty it should’ve been 14-14, but we settled for the field goal because of a penalty.” Woods said “We had a chance again to make it 28-21 there before half and we put the ball on the ground on fourth and a half of a yard. The reality of it is it shouldn’t have been that way. It should’ve been an extremely close game right there at halftime and we weren’t because of the mistakes that we ended up making.”

Enid was the first to strike in the second half after holding the Millers (4-1, 2-0) to a turnover on downs in Plainsmen territory. Enid once again turned to Villa and Filarski, who were able to keep the chains moving and drive deeper into Yukon territory.

The six-minute drive was capped off a 4-yard run by Villa, who took a toss around the left side and was able to make two Yukon defenders miss in the backfield before scampering into the end zone.

With the score, the Plainsmen seemed to have life again trailing 28-17, but they couldn’t get a stop. Yukon responded with its longest drive of the game which ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Triston Brooke, giving the Millers a comfortable lead.

“It was a game that I felt like we competed extremely well in, but it’s the mistakes that ended up leading to the score being what it was.” Woods said.

The Plainsmen’s improvement from last season was on display against Yukon. Despite losing their last two games to the Millers by a combined score of 115-7, Enid hung in the game with Yukon for all four quarters.

The Plainsmen are just happy to be back on the football field after their last game against Jenks was cancelled due to COVID-19. Woods says his team has been handling this issue well and have approached every week, prepared to play.

“We’re excited to have a chance to play,” he said. “If it’s canceled it’s definitely unfortunate when that situation arises but our guys seem pretty determined to play and ready to play at a moments notice. They just love to play and I like that about this group.”

The Plainsmen return home next Friday for their first home game of the season against Westmoore at 7 p.m.

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Masri is a freelance writer for the Enid News & Eagle.

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