|08/20/19 - |
A good group of Ada High School fans gathered at Norris Field Saturday night to watch an intense 90-minute practice by the Cougar football team.
That Saturday night slot is usually reserved for the Cougar Preview, the annual Maroon-White scrimmage. However, this year the coaching staff felt like the team could benefit more with an extra practice session instead of bringing game officials in for a scrimmage.
There were plenty of bright spots from Saturday night’s session, but Ada head coach Chris Berus said he’d know more after he and his staff went over film of the workout. It was just Ada’s second practice with pads this fall.
“Tonight was a little bit sharper than yesterday,” Berus said. “The kids are understanding where to be and how to be and why to be and what to do when they get there. I’m loving the effort we’re playing with early on.”
The Cougars will get their first test of the preseason Thursday night, when they travel to Deer Creek High School for scrimmage action against the host Antlers and three-time defending Class 5A state champion Carl Albert. The Titans haven’t lost a game the past two seasons.
Berus said he and the Cougars are looking forward to Thursday’s challenges.
“I’m really excited about where we’re at. We’ll face two great programs in Deer Creek and Carl Albert. Deer Creek has a couple of D1 offensive linemen and obviously, CA is CA,” he said. “We’re going to get a good indication of where we’re at, and we all know where we want to go. We want to be playing Week 14. There’s not a better way to start to find out where we need to improve going into the next week.”
Berus has taken over as Ada’s offensive coordinator after the departure of former assistant coach Tyler Dorton. Berus has thrown multiple offense looks at the Cougars so far, and they’re catching on.
It all starts with the 20 seniors Ada has is fall camp.
“Our seniors are leading in an exceptional way. They’re doing a great job of mentoring the younger kids,” he said.
“I like the way that it feels. A lot of times when it feels good, a lot of times it is good. Again, it’s not that we’re not making mistakes, but we’re going to recover from those mistakes because we’re working extremely hard,” Berus continued.
Berus said he was as pleased with the Ada scout team as he was with any unit on the field Saturday night.
“I was very proud of our scout team tonight. We were very clean. Those are our work guys. Those are the guys that are getting us ready to go. Without a great scout team, you’re not going to be a very good football team,” he said. “Those guys are doing a great job of getting lined up, making us line up properly and making us chase the football like we need to on defense.”
The scout team has been on point defensively, too.
“From an offensive perspective, they’re making us throw the ball where we have to throw the ball on Friday night. They’re chasing the ball when it’s run game and making the offensive linemen block those four, five or six seconds they need to,” Berus explained.
The veteran Ada coach said when the scout team is performing well, it makes the entire team better.
“All those guys want to be a Friday night player so it’s making them better as well. They’re going against what we consider our best guys. If they’re giving that kind of great effort against those guys, their game is going to improve,” he said.
The kicking game
Some Ada fans got to see junior kicker Phillip Jones in action for the first time Saturday night. Jones was pretty impressive, ending his kicking session by nailing a field goal from around 50 yards.