AFTON — Corey Henry has a unique perspective of the Afton-Fairland football rivalry.
He played for Afton from 2002-05 and now will be coaching on the Fairland sideline when the teams square off here Friday, Oct. 6.
This will be the 84th time the teams have met. Afton leads the rivalry 54-27-2 dating back to at least 1923.
“You can come here as an underdog and walk out victorious,” Henry said. “That’s what makes this game so great. You never know what’s going to happen. On both sides of the ball, they come out ready to compete because one doesn’t want to lose to the other.”
Henry, a 2005 Afton High School graduate, served a two-year stint as head coach at McDonald County High School at Anderson, Missouri, and has been at Fairland the past two seasons.
FHS head coach Kent Marshall calls Henry “my right hand man. He’s a good one.”
Henry, who played for Jerry Springer, attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and Oklahoma State.
He spent time with Chris Risenhoover at Miami and at Hennessey with former Grove coach Joe McCulley.
Afton (4-0) is a consensus No. 1 pick by state media: The Associated Press, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World and Vype Oklahoma.
The Eagles have won by an average of 37.5 points per game. They routed Ketchum 58-0 two weeks ago then rolled over Barnsdall 62-24 last Friday night.
That’s the 14th time over the past three seasons that Afton has scored 50 or more points in a game.
“It’s an honor to be noticed as far as the program goes, but it’s yet to be determined as far as getting it done,” Afton head coach Zach Gardner said. “You can be ranked No. 1 all year and it comes down to the playoffs and you don’t get it done so it doesn’t amount to anything.”
“I told our kids what better game could it be that you get to go play the No. 1 team in the state in the Afton-Fairland game,” Henry said. “To me, it makes it a lot more fun. You get to measure yourself.”
Adding to the mix, there’s another Henry on the Afton roster. Zach is a senior two-way starter for the Eagles.
“That makes it a little more exciting for me,” Corey Henry said. “I have always been real close to the Gardners (Randy and Sharon). They are like another set of grandparents and Zach is like another brother to me.”
Afton rolled 54-0 last year, the Eagles’ fourth in the last five meetings and 11th in the last 13.
Quarterback Wil Amos accounted for 291 yards in offense and five touchdowns for the Eagles.
He ran for 249 yards and had touchdowns covering 28, 16, 29, 24 and 72 yards.
Gunner Hudson added 117 yards and had TD runs of 18 and 20 yards.
Kyle Corley accounted for Afton’s eighth score, a 51-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.
Fairland managed only 66 yards in total offense, 31 rushing and 35 passing on 3 of 16 chances.
The Owls dropped their first two games this season then put together a three-game win streak. They stubbed their toe against Foyil last Friday, falling 21-8.
“They are definitely somebody we can not overlook as far as their record,” Gardner said. “We have to prepare for them like we did vs. Barnsdall and all of those other teams.
“We can’t go into it with the mentality that we can just show up and win.”
“Our kids have done a great job of doing what we’ve asked of them,” Corey Henry said. “We got on a roll there, but kinda stumbled a little last week and we paid for it. That opened our eyes and our kids realize that we have to go in every week and compete.”
In other action
Also on Friday, it’s Commerce at Caney Valley, Wyandotte at Adair, Foyil at Quapaw and Deer Creek-Lamont at Welch.
Bluejacket was to have played Copan Friday night, but the Hornets scrapped the rest of the 2017 season earlier this week.
“We had enough players, but we didn’t have enough eligible players,” Copan athletic director Brad Rodgers told Mike Tupa of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
Copan already had forfeited its first five games and had hoped to finally get things going against the Chieftains.