EDMOND – Entering the season, Edmond Memorial first-year coach Justin Merideth thought he had three solid running backs. Juniors Kameron Doolittle and Cale Olbert and senior D’Juan Brooks were going to take the program places it’s never been. Nobody was more excited than Brooks. After lingering in the shadows, this was going to be his year, his coming-out party. But it all changed in a blink of an eye. Coming down on a punt against Del City in Week 3, he suffered a stinger. "There were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to come back,” Brooks said. "Maybe this wasn’t what I was supposed to do.” He never gave up. He was told he would be out five to six weeks, so the key was just to be patient and not get discouraged. It was made a little easier as the Bulldogs started to reel off win after win after a 1-3 start, sparked by moving Doolittle to quarterback. The move allowed Doolittle and Olbert to get the ball as many times as possible. Brooks returned in Week 9 against Edmond North, but he wasn’t quite himself. In Week 10, he didn’t have the option of coming back slowly. Olbert was injured in the first quarter, and now it was going to be Brooks’ turn to carry the load. "He’s been a big lift for us,” Doolittle said. "He’s a hard runner who isn’t afraid to get the tough yards.” Brooks has back-to-back 100-yard games and answered any questions he had about himself. "I was kind of nervous about taking that first hit,” Brooks said. "I took it and felt normal, and I’m just excited to be able to end my career like this.” With Olbert getting closer and closer to being ready, Memorial might finally have all of its pieces ready. The Bulldogs are going to need everybody as they head to Jenks in a Class 6A quarterfinal Friday. Brooks is ready. "When D’Juan sees a hole, he hits it hard. It’s been just as big for his confidence as it has been for us with the way he’s played,” Merideth said.
Edmond Memorial (8-3) at Jenks (11-0)→When: 7:30 p.m. Friday →Where: Hunter-Dwelley Stadium, Jenks →Scouting report: Jenks has clearly been the best team on the field despite all the distractions off of it. Memorial has never been this far in the playoffs, and the defense has only allowed seven points in the last 14 quarters. The Bulldogs are entering with a seven-game winning streak. By Robert Przybylo