Anadarko back on the winning track
By Zach West
The last decade or so hasn’t been kind to the Anadarko football team. The Warriors haven’t finished above .500 since 1994. In head coach Kent Jackson’s first three years after hiring on in 2004, the Warriors won only five games total.
The 2007 Warriors, however, look well on their way to bucking that trend. In Week 3, Anadarko beat Chickasha for the first time since 1994. Friday in a 33-14 road win, the Warriors defeated Elk City for the first time since 1992 and moved to 3-1.
“It was a huge road win for us against a ranked opponent,” Jackson said. “It was a game that we had to win if we want to get into the playoffs.”
Even the Warriors lone defeat was nearly a victory. Anadarko hung tough until the end against Cache in Week 1, losing 21-18 in a hard-fought battle.
So what spurred the sudden resurgence? Well, with 18 returning starters, the Warriors are experienced and confident … and showing that their No. 7 preseason district ranking may have been just a bit off.
“Our confidence is way up,” Jackson said. “The thing that sets us apart from the previous years is that we play through adversity. In the past we used to roll over and let the bad things keep coming. This year we play through the tough times and keep improving.”
The quick-learning of Isreal Williams hasn’t hurt, either. Despite all of the returning starters, the Warriors were lacking at one key area coming into the season – quarterback. Enter Williams, who switched over from running back to take the reigns.
In only his third game as the signal caller, Williams rushed for 230 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, and was 7-of-14 passing for 107 yards and two touchdowns Friday night.
“He is getting better every week,” Jackson said. “He is making great cuts and helping us win ball games.”
If the Warriors want to finish at .500 or above for the first time in 13 years, they’ll need two more wins. If they want to make the playoffs (also for the first time in 13 years), they’ll likely need more than that. Glancing ahead at their schedule, Anadarko definitely has a shot. Although they will have to face tough opponents in Bishop McGuinness, Douglass and Weatherford, the Warriors also have contests remaining against Piedmont, Northeast and Guymon. While the latter three games are definitely winnable (and Anadarko could be the favorite in all of them), they’re still going to have to keep overcoming history to do so. Friday, the Warriors will start with Piedmont – a team they’ve never beaten in school history. Anadarko is 0-3 all-time against the Wildcats.
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