Huskies expecting to improve in Thursday road scrimmages
Real numbers supplied most of the answers for the Pawhuska High School Huskies last Friday in their first high school football scrimmage under new head coach Joe Sindelar.
The primary numerical reality was a relatively low amount of offensive yardage measured for the Class 2A Huskies in their 2015 debut against the talented 4A visitors, the Cleveland Tigers. Although Cleveland had the better end of the workout, the PHS coach said he saw plenty of positives for the local varsity and jayvee squads.
“I know they’re frustrated,” Sindelar said of his players following the 90-minute workout. “But, we will be able to learn from this — it gives us something to build upon as we move forward.”
Sindelar, the PHS principal, is returning to football sidelines following a three-year absence. He won multiple state titles at Morrison and Woodland. He said the Huskies just need a little more time to become familiar with the new offensive system being installed here.
“They can’t expect to get there in 10 days — it’s just not going to happen that fast,” said Sindelar.
The PHS coach, whose current roster includes fewer than 30 varsity players, added: “The fact that they (the Tigers) had nearly as many freshmen as we had total guys didn’t make things any easier.”
After the Huskies sputtered through their initial 10-play series, the Tigers reeled off positive gains running and passing while scoring three times on their opening possession. Cleveland’s junior quarterback, Jarred Keeler, threw the first two TDs to speedy senior receiver Desmond Freeman.
Despite the lopsided offensive totals, Pawhuska did manage moderate gains. Junior quarterback Colton Hindman completed passes to senior receivers Gage Dagenais and Mathew Taft, while junior runners Caleb Bruce and John Bighorse — as well as sophomore Brian Jeffers — successfully moved the ball on the ground.
Bighorse also looked good on defense as a linebacker for the Huskies. The 6-foot, 210-pound standout appears soundly recovered from a fractured leg sustained in last year’s playoffs. Bruce and Bighorse play offense, defense and also share the PHS kicking duties.
Hindman, who missed the second half of last season with a shoulder separation, connected on the scramble to Dagenais for a couple of gains. Dagenais is a versatile athlete who, a year ago, was battling Hindman for the signal-calling role. He returns to the Huskie lineup after missing the 2014 campaign due to a pre-season injury.
Taft, another of Pawhuska’s two-way players, used a stop-and-go move after catching a dump pass to give the Huskies their longest play of the night. Other key members of the PHS lineup include senior lineman Hayden Henley and speedy junior Warren Graves.
Pawhuska is scheduled for road scrimmages Thursday in a three-way session that will include the 2A Tonkawa Bucanneers and the Pawnee Black Bears. Starting time will be 6 p.m. at Tonkawa.
The Huskies will open the regular season at home Friday, Sept. 4, against the Class 3A Verdigris Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium. Week Two will find PHS on the road at Dewey.
On Tuesday, Sept. 1, Pawhuska’s seventh- and eighth-grade squads will host Barnsdall for a local scrimmage.
A second pre-season scrimmage will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday at Tonkawa.