Early in Southmoore's football scrimmage session with Edmond North, the final of the night in the three-team scrimmage at Moore Stadium, SaberCats offensive lineman Drew Nickell went down with an injury to his left leg or ankle.
He had to be taken off the field on a cart, and Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman wasn't sure about the severity of the injury afterward. He said losing Nickell would be a big blow to the offensive line.
“He's by far our hardest working player,” Brickman said. “I tell our guys if we have a team with even half the heart like he has, we'd be a whole lot better. He's a blue-collar player that's a coach's dream.”
DOUGLASS DEFENSE ON TRACK
Douglass coach Willis Alexander was most pleased with the performance of his defense Friday night against Guthrie and Tulsa Bishop Kelley. Though they were playing without starting defensive end D.J. Ward, the line held together well, and the Trojans have plenty of experience in the back seven.
“Defensively, I thought we played well. A couple mistakes here and there, but I think we're right where we need to be,” Alexander said. “Offensively, we're placing some people in some positions, but we'll come together.”
EDMOND NORTH KEEPS IT CLEAN
The most encouraging thing for Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek in his team's two scrimmage wins over Enid and Southmoore was the lack of penalties and other mistakes that often creep into early scrimmages.
“It'll be hard to tell how the scrimmage really went until we look at the film, but I do like the fact that we weren't that sloppy,” Dombek said.
NEWTON IMPROVING IN PASSING GAME
Senior Grant Newton is taking over as quarterback for Kingfisher after the graduation of Bryce Hyatt, who threw for 1,228 yards and 13 touchdowns last season.
But Newton is not inexperienced at the position. The Yellow Jackets used him in run packages at quarterback last year.
On Friday night, he ripped off an 80-yard touchdown run against Piedmont. He faked the handoff to running back Landon Nault who drew several Piedmont tacklers toward him.
“That happens a lot when you got Landon as your running back,” Newton said. “Last year, we had a good zone read game that we ran a lot whenever I came in the game. Landon is obviously the focal point of our offense. Teams are going to want to stop him first and foremost.
“I had an open lane and pulled it and went to the outside and there was no one really there. The receiver threw a good block on the back side.”
Newton worked hard in the offseason to improve his passing.
“It was kind of a two-headed monster (last season),” Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers said. “Grant was more of a runner and a more physical guy but was having some problems throwing the ball. Bryce was the guy that could sit back, a pocket passer, and threw the ball really well.
“We worked on that in the off season, and Grant has kind of honed down both of them. I thought Grant did a great job tonight. Not only did he run the ball really well, but I also thought he threw the ball really well. In fact, we dropped three touchdown passes. All of them were great balls.”
MCGUINESS SURPRISES FOR PIEDMONT
Piedmont also must find someone to replace Cassius Calhoun, who rushed for 1,480 yards as a senior last season.
On Friday night, Wildcats coach Craig Church was impressed with running back Mitchell McGuiness, a senior who is playing high school football for the first time.
“Mitchell McGuiness runs extremely hard,” Church said. “He ran very well tonight.”
Mitchell played soccer for Piedmont the past two years, not football.
“He has been a great surprise,” Church said. “The only thing I'm upset with him is that this is his first year with us and he is a senior. He slipped through the cracks on me.”
TULSA KELLEY FIGHTING THROUGH INJURIES
Tulsa Kelley coach J.J. Tappana was most pleased Friday night that his team didn't suffer anymore serious injuries.
He held out the Comets' starting running back, Austin Morris, because of a knee injury, and senior quarterback Brady Goforth is still sidelined by a severe hip injury suffered in May.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Martin managed the offense well Friday.
“I was pleased with his composure,” Tappana said. “I expect him to be the starter in game one. He got thrown to the wolves and took it all summer. He took it tonight. He's efficient right now. I'm really not too concerned about it.”
BY RYAN ABER, SCOTT WRIGHT AND ED GODFREY