|09/29/17 - |
The Ada High School football team will take its show on the road when it travels to Cleveland for a District 4A-2 matchup.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Billy Vessels Stadium.
Ada is 2-2 after upsetting then-No. 4 Bethany last week. The Cougars are just outside the Top 10 in the latest Associated Press high school football rankings, sharing the No. 11 spot with Clinton.
Cleveland has been impressive so far in 2017, winning three of its first four games. The Tigers opened the season with a 28-6 win over Hominy before absorbing a 35-12 road loss to Mannford.
Cleveland then edged host Cushing 31-28 before clubbing Harrah 28-14 in the team’s third straight road contest.
“They’re 3-1 and playing with a lot of confidence. They’re not the same team that lost to Mannford earlier in the season. They’re executing well on offense,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus.
Junior quarterback Dakota Cline makes the Tigers offense go.
“They have a really good quarterback. He’s a lefty, about 6-2, and has looked good,” Berus said. “He makes good decisions. They run a lot of run-pass option.”
Berus said Cline another QB who can hurt you with his arm or his legs.
“He’s used to scrambling a little bit, so we’re going to do a great job of trying to contain him and keep him in the pocket. We can’t let him get out to the edge and make plays with his feet,” Berus said. “He gets the ball out well and had three or four different guys he likes to get the ball to.”
In Cleveland’s slim 31-28 win over Cushing, Cline finished with 139 yards passing and a touchdown, while rushing for 97 yards on 22 carries and two more TDs.
Junior Alex Martinez is Cleveland’s top runner. He had a 47-yard run in the Cushing contest and also hauled in a 19-yard touchdown reception.
Senior Zack Baker has shown big-play capability. Against Harrah, he hauled in a 55-yard touchdown catch.
Berus said the strength of Cleveland’s 4-3 defense is its linebackers.
“They’re very aggressive at the linebacker position and very, very fast,” he said.
Ada leads the series with Cleveland 3-1, but the Tigers edged the Cougars 16-13 in overtime in 2016. Cleveland High School is located 116 miles almost straight north of Ada, just northwest of Tulsa.
While there were plenty of bright spots and positives to take from Ada’s huge 35-28 win over Class 4A power Bethany last week, Berus also said the game film showed plenty of things the Cougars need to work on.
“We made a lot of mistakes. We didn’t tackle very well. When you look at the scores we gave up, there were either guys out of position or it was just us not bringing out bodies and arms to get guys down,” he said. “It’s been a focus since day one. We just didn’t execute as well on defense as we needed to.”
Berus said several “busts” hurt the Ada offense at times.
“If you get one or two guys with a bust, it turns into a negative play. We still have to clean up a lot of things,” he said.
Berus touched on a couple of Ada’s bright spots.
Senior Kylen Cooper, who was a playmaker for the Cougars through the first three games of the 2016 season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, had his best game of this year, finishing with six catches for 143 yards and a touchdown.
“Coop had a big day,” Berus said.
Walt Labove rushed for 25 yards and hauled in a 19-yard pass in relief of starting tailback Adam Anderson, who left the game with an ankle injury.
“Walt came in and did a good job when we needed him to,” Berus said.
“There were tons of areas where we had guys that stepped up and made plays. That’s what you have to do — make plays when it matters, and our kids did that,” he said. “That’s very encouraging and great to build on.”
The Cougars hope to ride the momentum of the victory over Bethany into this week’s contest in Cleveland.
“We beat a very good football team. They’re going to be a tough beat for anyone,” Berus said.
Excellence is the goal
“We’ve had a good week of practice so far,” Berus said. “We want to pursue excellence as we’ve started talking about to our football team this week. That’s hopefully what we’re building on right now,” he said.
Berus said the Cougars continue to head in the right direction.
“I really believe if we go play and play within ourselves and play to the capabilities that we have, I think we’re a really good football team,” he said. “If we don’t do those things and we lose focus or we turn the ball over or we don’t tackle ... we can be exposed at times. The focal point is us.”
Note: The Ada High School boys basketball team has scheduled its annual hamburger fry for Friday, Oct. 6 at the north parking area of Koi Ishto Stadium.