High schools: Star Spencer working toward a return to playoffs

Class 4A's state champion has missed the postseason the last two years.
by Scott Wright Published: October 14, 2012
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photo - Star Spencer's Marquise Vardiman (71) waves the flag of the Bobcats after the Class 4A high school football state championship game between Star Spencer and Douglass at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, December 5, 2009. Star Spencer won, 34-21. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
Star Spencer's Marquise Vardiman (71) waves the flag of the Bobcats after the Class 4A high school football state championship game between Star Spencer and Douglass at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, December 5, 2009. Star Spencer won, 34-21. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Sophomore tailback Jerome Smith scored in the second overtime, when quarterback Antonio Smith audibled into a different play after seeing the defense. Then Harding decided to put the ball in the hands of his best player, 6-foot, 205-pound senior Kenneth Davis, who plowed in for the game-winning two-point conversion.

“It was a great character victory for us,” Harding said. “We had to look deep inside ourselves and fight back.”

One of the biggest moments of the season came in defeat a few weeks ago, when Kingfisher beat the Bobcats 16-0.

Harding doesn't care for moral victories, but he admits that staying within two scores of Class 3A's best team opened some eyes on the team.

“It was a huge confidence boost,” he said. “And it was an even bigger boost when we watched film and saw that we had a lot of room for improvement. We knew we played well in that game, but we saw that we could play even better.”

Defense has been a big key, following Harding's promotion of assistant coach Matt Gates to defensive coordinator before the season. The Bobcats haven't allowed more than 16 points to a district opponent.

As a team, the Bobcats have started to regain the community pride that was so strong when coach Darrell Hall led Star Spencer to the state title in 2009.

“These kids are aware that they're part of a special community, and they're representing that community on the field,” Harding said. “We just want to keep moving full speed ahead.”


by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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