For the second-straight season, Pawhuska High School’s football team should harvest plenty of answers during its non-district gauntlet.
The Huskies are set to open the campaign with back-to-back home games — vs. Kellyville (Aug. 25) and Morrison (Sept. 1).
They will finish up their non-district stretch by traveling to Dewey (Sept. 8) and to Hominy (Sept.15).
Last year, a short-handed Huskie squad finished 1-2 in non district (the game vs. Dewey didn’t count due to a weather stoppage about halfway through).
Three of last year’s non-district foes (Morrison, Dewey and Hominy) each qualified for the playoffs — with Hominy capturing the Class A state crown.
The Huskies opened the 2016 campaign by obliterating the Kellyville Ponies, 35-0.
But, then they hit the skids — with losses to Morrison, 30-12, and to Hominy, 47-9, sandwiched around the non-decision against Dewey.
Dewey, Morrison and Hominy combined for a 30-8 record last year — and not to minimize the knowledge that Morrison played in the Class A semifinals.
Even combined with Kellyville’s 2-8 mark last season, Pawhuska’s first four opponents in 2017 registered a cumulative 32-16 mark for 2016.
That puts Pawhuska on tap for one of the most grueling schedules out of the gate this coming season.
The Huskies limped in last year at 2-7. They posted their lone district win against Newkirk, 17-6.
But, the forecast for the 2017 Huskies appears to be sunnier.
Joe Tillman — and his vision of a stronger, faster, bigger and more focused Huskie powerhouse — is back for a second season.
The Huskies also welcome back a superb class of sophomores that could play a major role in the 2017 grid wars.