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Cougars Focus On Week 9
10/31/19 -

The Ada High football team will look to get its offense back on track during a Week 9 road matchup with Nathan Hale Friday night.

Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Tulsa East Central’s East Side Sports Complex.

The Cougars haven’t scored in two games, and head coach Chris Berus and company hope to remedy that situation against the Rangers. Ada dropped a 13-0 decision to Bishop Kelley last week on a cold, rainy Friday night in Tulsa.

“We can’t put ourselves behind the chains with negative plays and penalties. We’re not an offense where we can put ourselves in a hole,” Berus said. “There was no consistency up front, and we struggled throwing the football a little bit.”

The Cougars didn’t find much running room against a stiff Kelley defense, rushing for just 79 yards.

“The game is still about blocking and tackling. We’re just not sustaining and creating the seams we need to create to keep driving the football,” he said. “Protection was a little rough for us, too.”

Berus was pleased with the play of Ada’s defensive unit at Tulsa Kelley. The Cougars limited the Comets — who entered the game scoring over 35 points per outing — to just 13 points and 241 yards of total offense.

“We aligned well and fit well after the first play of the game. The kids played with really good effort and really stacked up the box. Conditions didn’t call for a whole lot of throwing the football, so the kids pinned their ears back a little bit and chased the football. We also got good pressure on the quarterback when they did throw the football. They played really solid,” he said.

Ada currently stands at 3-4 overall and 2-3 in District 5A-3 play. The Cougars are tied in fifth place with Durant and need to move up to at least fourth to earn a playoff spot.

Nathan Hale is mathematically eliminated from the playoffs at 2-6 and 0-5 but would love to play the spoiler role.

There are many scenarios over the final two weeks of the season that could help and hurt Ada’s playoff chances. However, Berus wants to keep the focus on the immediate task at hand — at least for now.

“The last two (games) are really, really big. The opportunities are still open for the postseason,” he said. “We’ve got to take it one week at a time and just focus on us and where we have to get better. I’ve not studied all the scenarios that are possible towards the end because the reality is, we just have to take care of us. If we take care of us and then get some breaks or some other guys doing some things that give us an advantage, then that’s great.”

Ada ends the regular season with a home date against fourth-ranked Tulsa Edison (7-1, 5-0) on Nov. 8.

“We’ve had a spirited week of practice. It’s been good. I think the change in the weather creates a little bit of that as well,” Berus said. “Our kids understand where we’re at and what’s in front of us and how important it is to come to work every day and get better than we were the day before.”

 The Hale report

The Rangers feature a “Big 3” in senior running back Deangelo Washington, quarterback Terry Yarbrough and receiver Michael Caballero. However, it’s Washington who makes the Nathan Hale offense tick.

Washington, who is the feature back of Hale’s Wildcat offense, also lines up at quarterback some.

In a 47-0 win over Tulsa Webster to open the season, Washington accounted for four touchdowns and 160 yards in the first half alone.

While playing defensive back, he had an interception and also showed explosiveness on a 40-yard punt return. For the game, Washington finished with 101 yards rushing and three touchdowns on five carries and completed 4-of-7 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

“D-Lo is special. I’ve been trying to tell people for the past several months, this guy is really special,” second-year Hale coach Brian Jones told the Tulsa World. “Honestly, if you watch him with the ball in his hands, he takes broken plays and turns it into something almost every time.”

Leaders of a big offensive line for Hale include Andre Bucktrot (6-4, 305) and Darnell Ford (6-2, 290).

“They have a quarterback that’s really explosive and a running back that does a good job of finding seams. They have some big guys up front. You don’t want to stay stationary against them because they can move you,” Berus said.

“It’s when a play breaks down they really become dangerous. You have to be aware of their playmakers are,” he continued. “They have some good athletes. Their quarterback can go the distance on you if you give him space.”

The Rangers mostly run a 3-4 defense.

“A lot of those same guys go both ways, so they’re pretty big up front. They want to force you to try to move them up front and let their back end guys go make plays,” Berus said.

The Cougars are 3-0 all-time against the Rangers.

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