|10/17/19 - |
The Ada High School football team will host a struggling Durant team tonight in a fall break matchup at Norris Field.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. inside Koi Ishto Stadium.
Durant enters the contest at 0-6 on the season and is off to an 0-3 start in District 5A-3 play. Ada stands at 3-2 and 2-1.
The Cougars hold a hefty 61-12-2 lead in the longtime series with the Lions and have won three straight against their rivals from the south. Durant defeated Ada 14-7 in a non-district contest in 2015.
The Lions are 3-20 over their past 23 outings.
Ada head coach Chris Berus said the past — including the first six games of this season — will mean nothing when the football is kicked off tonight.
“We discuss that stuff often. Like I tell our guys, we’re too far away from thinking we’ve arrived to look at somebody else for what they are or what they aren’t. We have to make sure we are where we need to be, and we’re not there yet,” he said. “Our effort, our tenacity and how hard we play the game should be the same from week to week, no matter who we play.”
Berus said the Lions have shown flashes of high-caliber play on film, especially in the past two weeks during a 33-16 loss to Coweta and a 48-21 setback to Tulsa Kelley.
“The first two series against Coweta, they marched right down the field and scored touchdowns,” he said.
“They have big kids up front that get off the ball well and make holes. Their tailback runs hard, and they have a quarterback that throws the ball extremely well,” Berus continued.
The Durant offensive line is led by senior standout Cooper McCoy (6-3, 270) and senior Lazaro Estrada (5-11, 265).
Senior Jaxon Ingram is the team’s quarterback. He has completed 94-of-162 passes for 853 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. The Lions have two reliable running backs in Francisco Avila (69 carries, 253 yards) and Austin Reinecker (47 carries, 170 yards).
The leader of the Durant receiving corps is senior Dalton White with 40 catches for 387 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Noah McCarson (20 catches, 203 yards) and senior Hunter Haislip are also weapons in the DHS pass attack.
The Lions employ a 3-4 defensive formation.
“They run a 3-4 defense and like to make you run off tackle and run to the sidelines. Bishop Kelley had a hard time running to the perimeter and Coweta had a hard time running to the perimeter, and we’re a perimeter running team as well,” Berus said.
“We have to make sure our blocking at the point of attack on the perimeter is sustained,” Berus continued. “Those guys out there are used to holding blocks four or five seconds. They’re more get-in- the-way guys, and we have to be better than that against (the Lions).”
Durant is coached by former Southeastern head coach Ray Richards, who spent nine seasons with the Savage Storm. Richards spent two years as an assistant at Durant before being named the head coach in 2017.
One of Durant’s assistants is veteran Morris Sloan, who spent 12 seasons at the head coach at Southeastern before resigning in 2000.
“Coach Richards has been in the game for a long time, and he’s got those kids doing exactly what they need to be doing to be successful,” Berus said. “You look at their staff ... they have some guys on there that know ball. Those kids are well-coached.”
The Ada offense struggled to put points on the board during a 9-7 win over Glenpool last week, but the Cougar defense limited the Warriors to just 132 yards of total offense — including only 23 passing yards.
“The defense played phenomenal. We had two stops inside the red zone,” Berus said. “It was a poorly planned offensive scheme and poorly called and poorly executed. We’re still learning on that side of the ball with a lot of things.”
Berus said the best thing about the trip to Glenpool was that his Cougars escaped with the big district win.
“The grit, the fight and the heart our kids have, you find a way. Teams that have a chance to do something in the playoffs find a way in those situations, and our kids did that,” Berus said. “You come away with a win, and that’s positive. You look at all the things we should have done better that we didn’t, but the one staple is the kids playing lights out on defense.”
Ada senior linebacker Braden Maloy led the AHS defensive charge with 12.5 tackles. He now has a team-best 39 for the season.
“Braden Maloy had a great game. The kids got a lot of pride in his work. At the half, he felt like he wasn’t playing up to the standard he has set for himself, and we made some alignment adjustments with him. Lo and behold, he made a ton of plays in the second half,” Berus said. “The closer that ball got to the goal line, the more plays it seemed like he was making.”