Game preview: Class 5A No. 2 Guthrie (3-0) at No. 6 Deer Creek (3-0)
EDMOND — A huge District 5A-1 battle is The Oklahoman’s top-ranked high school football game in the state, and I’m fortunate enough to be covering it.
Deer Creek will host Guthrie tonight at 7:30 p.m. in one of the state’s tougher district’s first big game.
Adding to this game’s intrigue is the rivalry aspect. These schools aren’t terribly far apart and several of the players on opposing teams are friends.
Guthrie leads the all-time series 4-2.
Both teams are also extremely well-coached. Deer Creek’s Grant Gower and Guthrie’s Rafe Watkins, who has led the Bluejays to two state titles, are two top-notch coaches.
WHEN GUTHRIE HAS THE BALL
Guthrie has the ability to strike from the air or on the ground. Junior quarterback Bryan Dutton has started since he was a freshman, and put up huge numbers last year as a sophomore. But so far this season, the Bluejays have relied more on the ground game.
Senior Luke Davis has rushed for 306 yards and three touchdowns, averaging just over 7.2 yards a carry. But Dutton has also been a force carrying the ball, as has sophomore Kai Callins.
Guthrie, which has averaged 263 rushing and 115 passing yards a game, isn’t choosing to run more because they can’t throw; rather, the Bluejays have a giant offensive line — anchored by left tackle Blake Belcher (6-foot-5, 280 pounds), a Tulsa commit — that bullies opposing defensive fronts. And with runners like Davis, Dutton, Callins, and others, why would you need to throw?
But if forced to, the Bluejays absolutely could shred opposing secondaries. Dutton has thrown seven touchdown passes through three games and no interceptions. Sophomore Donovan Jordan has caught three TD passes and senior tight end John Clark can make plays in the air game as well. And don’t forget senior move-in Clint Simek, who has quickly made his presence felt for the Bluejays with two TD catches.
But don’t sit on Deer Creek’s defense. The Antlers are extremely talented on that side of the ball — especially up front. Austin Loomis, Kooper Ruminer, Alec James, Clint Edgeman, Nolan Boyd and Ian Smith have all played extremely well for a defense that is allowing just 59 yards rushing per game.
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