HIGH-SCHOOL

Under new head coach, Huskies to open football practices Monday

Mike Erwin
merwin@examiner-enterprise.com
PHS assistant football coach Mark Frye watches John Bighorse pull down a pass during last year's season-opening football practice. The Huskies — including Bighorse and coach Frye — will hold this years initial workout next Monday. New head coach Joe Tillman will put the 2016 Pawhuska varsity in pads for a Friday Night Lights practice at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 12. The Huskies will have their only preseason scrimmage Aug. 19 at Barnsdall and then open the regular season Aug. 26 at Kellyville.

Speed should be a readily-available resource for the 2016 Pawhuska High School Huskies football team. Size, however, will be a scarce commodity.

The Huskies are scheduled to hold their first official practice of season on Monday.

“We’re planning to hold two-a-days on at least a couple of those days,” PHS coach Joe Tillman said.

Tillman said the initial workouts will be held on the practice field at 20th and McKenzie. There will be early-morning sessions as well as practices in the late afternoon, he said.

“For our first practice with pads, we’ll have a Friday Night Lights’ workout,” said Tillman, a first-time high school coach who is attempting to inject energy into the local grid program.

The Friday night, Aug. 12, workout will take place at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Prior to the special practice session, Tillman and the coaches will hold a parents meeting at 6 p.m. in the stadium locker room — which has been renovated for use as a film room/player training facility.

“We’ve put an 80-inch, big screen TV in there for studying films,” said Tillman. “We’re going to be watching a lot of film.”

The new head coach said the Huskies will be running a spread offense this season under offensive coordinator Ladd Drummond.

“Because of our lack of size, we intend to do some things that will make use of the team’s speed,” Tillman said. “We’ll be pulling our guards a lot and try to attack the corners of the defenses.”

Local fans will have an opportunity to preview this year’s PHS varsity at a Friday, Aug. 19, scrimmage at Barnsdall. The Huskies and Panthers will get underway at 6 p.m. It is the only scrimmage slated for this pre-season, the coach said,

“We’ll really be looking forward to that Friday when we can finally go out there and hit somebody else — not just one another,” Tillman said.

Pawhuska graduated six varsity players from last year’s team. The Huskies return a strong core of starters led by seniors John Bighorse (6-1, 240), Caleb Bruce (5-10, 160), Colton Hindman (5-11, 170), Warren Graves (5-10, 170), Ben Gray (6-1, 180), Nathan Richardson (6-1, 180) and Will Merrill (6-0, 160). The PHS junior class includes Brian Jeffers (6-0, 185), Kienan Cheves (6-1, 220), D’Artagnan Stone (5-11, 150) and Tyler Wilson (6-0, 185).

PHS is on the road for its Aug. 26 season opener against the Class 3A Kellyville Ponies. The Game 2 opponent on Friday, Sept. 2, is the A Class Morrison Wildcats, which will be another road game fo the Huskies.

The Dewey Bulldoggers, a Class 3A foe, will provide Pawhuska’s foe for the Sept. 9 home opener. Hominy’s highly-regarded Bucks are to be the Huskies’ homecoming opponent on Sept. 16. The Bucks will be trying to exceed last season’s run to the Class A state semifinals.

In Pawhuska’s new home District 2A-1, the Chisholm Longhorns are rated as the team to beat in the Huskies’ Choice No. 2 is the Hennessey Eagles, with the Alva Goldbugs third, followed by Tonkawa, Perry, Newkirk and the Huskies.

Following an open Friday on Sept. 23, PHS will open is district schedule Sept. 30 at Tonkawa and go back on the road to Newkirk on Oct. 7. Hennessey will visit the Beach on Thursday, Oct. 13, for the Huskies’ first district home game and Alva is to play here a week later.

The Huskies travel to Enid to play Chisholm on Oct. 28 and conclude the regular season November 4 with a home game against Perry.

Other area football notes:

Woodland returns to 11-man competition under former PHS Huskies head coach Eddie Scott. The Cougars will be joining the Hominy-ruled A-6 District.

The Barnsdall Panthers are predicted to finish smack in the middle of the seven-team District A-7. Rejoice Christian, Afton and Hulbert topped the A-7 picks, with Fairland, Foyil and Quapaw expected to bring up the rear.

With defending 2A state champion Adair Warriors (and returning All-Planet QB B.J. Bradbury) replacing the Huskies in the 2A-8 District, the Wyandotte Bears and Commerce Tigers are now expected to be battling for second place, followed by the Nowata Ironmen and Chelsea Dragons, with Oklahoma Union and Caney Valley contending as non-cellar dwellers.