YUKON — Yukon coach Todd Wilson was pleased with what he saw from his defense in last Friday's 19-16 overtime win at Mustang.
He just doesn't want to have to see it so often.
“Our defense played 80 snaps,” Wilson said. “That's too many. We've got to get more three-and-outs, cause more turnovers. We can't have our defense out there that long.”
Holding a talented Mustang offense to 16 points was a good start for the Millers, but the chore gets tougher with No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe up next on Thursday night at Central Oklahoma's Wantland Stadium.
Santa Fe quarterback Justice Hansen, verbally committed to Oklahoma, will be back in action after sitting out last week's season opener with a hamstring injury. His return changes the dynamic of the Wolves' offense, which had little threat of the pass last week.
“They're really athletic with a good quarterback and a couple good running backs,” senior linebacker Josh Bedell said. “We've got to tackle well. We've got some good tacklers and we can gang-tackle, so we're gonna have to do that if we want to win.”
Maintaining the aggressive nature that helped the Millers in the second half against Mustang will be key against the Wolves.
“In the first half, we were playing more safe than aggressive,” Bedell said. “We weren't necessarily doing things wrong. We just weren't making plays like we should. In the second half, we were flying downhill a lot harder and hitting people. That made a big difference, so we've got to keep that going.”
Offensively, the Millers dealt with some typical Week 1 sloppiness, with about 40 yards lost on bad shotgun snaps, along with four turnovers.
But the offense came through with big plays when it needed them. Quarterback Hayden Somerville threw for 207 yards, and the running backs, primarily led by Shawn Anderson and Hunter Sconce, rushed for 116.
The offense will be asked to help with Wilson's goal of keeping the defense off the field as well, with sustained drives and fewer turnovers.
“That's got to be a big focus every week,” Somerville said. “You want to keep the defense off the field so that they're rested when you score, and can get a stop to get the ball back. Last week, we didn't convert enough and turned the ball over too much. But we'll get better.”