HARRAH — New Harrah coach Phil Webb thought some changes were in order when he took over the program following last season's 1-9 finish.
He started by changing the Panthers' locker room setup and even went as far as changing the decals on the helmets to the more traditional block logo used in the past.
The little changes appear to be working.
Harrah knocked off No. 8 Glenpool, a perennial power, 29-14 on Friday to improve to 3-2 on the season with a perfect start in District 4A-2.
“It's not that he changed lots of things, but the little things he did change help out a lot,” senior Dak Stephens said. “I thought it was a great move for the team (promoting Webb). He's so passionate in what he does and he has great respect from the kids. He cares about us more than most people, so he's really good for our program.”
Webb spent the past seven seasons as an assistant coach in Harrah, but was promoted before the season when Greg Willis left for Purcell.
It's been a perfect match for Webb and the Panthers ever since.
“You've got to do the little things,” Webb said. “The big things will take care of themselves. For the first time in a long time, our kids have bought into that and believe in that.
“You're preaching those things and saying, ‘Hey when is this going to show?' Now to win against Glenpool with those things happening, our team has seen success.”
Stephens was a big part of Friday's win, catching a touchdown pass and coming up with a key interception, but Webb gives credit to the entire team.
Quarterback Zach Hamblin threw three touchdown passes, and the Panthers got big plays from Dylan Queen, Ryan Gentry and Colin Jennings.
It was the kind of win that could boost the Panthers toward a playoff spot.
“It's just what we needed to jump-start this season and turn the program around from what it's been in the past,” Stephens said.
Stephens said that last year things just didn't go well on and off the field.
After winning 16 total games as a freshman and sophomore, Stephens said 2012 felt like he was being punched in the gut. Now, he feels like Webb has the team more unified than ever before.
“Last year when things were going bad, we'd put our heads down and fight and bicker in the huddle,” Stephens said. “This year we're keeping it together and playing as a team.”
With the little adjustments, the wins are coming.
Webb, though, is curious to see how his team responds to beating a team like Glenpool.
“The one thing we've got to do is learn how to handle success,” he said. “When you have success, it adds a whole other aspect to it. We haven't had a lot of success at Harrah.
“So now you go beat a top-10 program like we did Friday night and you've got to turn around and get ready to go for Mannford. They're 0-2 (in district play) and they've lost to Douglass and Ada, so their back is against the wall.”