Huskies rev up 7-on-7 league

Mike Tupa

By Mike Tupa

Pawhuska High School might boast the area football team with the biggest swagger heading into next autumn’s grid wars.

The Huskies return one the state’s premier — and most productive — quarterbacks and many other key athletes off an 11-2 team from last season.

Fittingly, perhaps, the Huskies also are getting a head-start of many football programs throughout the state.

With the clearance by the OSSAA of the coronavirus-related restrictions and the permission of the school district, the Huskies already have started 7-on-7 passing league play.

They hosted the first session Tuesday, with Blackwell providing the opposition.

“We were further along than I expected to be,” said third-year Huskie head coach Matt Hennesy, whose career record at Pawhuska sits at 17-7, including a 2-2 playoff mark.

Hennesy credited part of his team’s prodigious progress, despite the spring shutdown off all school workouts, to the unsupervised preparation by his individual players, most notably veteran starting quarterback Bryce Drummond, Drummond’s younger brother Todd, and a handful of receivers.

“Bryce did a good job throughout the pandemic,” Hennesy said. “Bryce and Todd were throwing three times a week with those guys. That’s why we’re further ahead than most.”

Two experienced receivers who performed especially well on Tuesday were Dalton Hurd and Mason Gilkey.

“Dalton Hurd looked amazing,” Hennesy said. “Mason Gilkey looked equally as strong. Bryce and Todd both threw extremely good.”

Hurd lines up primary at inside receiver and cornerback, while Gilkey fills outside receiver and free safety slots.

But, obviously, the Huskies still need some hard work and concentrated tuning to be up to full power by next season.

“We’re still progressing,” Hennesy said, pointing to timing as the most important aspect of focus for the moment.

Overall, Pawhuska students have flocked to summer conditioning since given the green light.

“Our Summer Pride conditioning has 150 kids,” Hennesy noted. “All our high school boys are there and our middle school students are there. We’ve got a ton of girls going through speed training.”

Pawhuska has scheduled a second passing league session for next Tuesday at 6 p.m., in Pawhuska.

Hennesy has received input from at least four other teams that could attend — Caney Valley, Nowata, Woodland and Rejoice Christian.

“I’m just excited about the season and I’m glad we’re getting our kids back,” Hennesy concluded.