MIAMI — Miami has taken advantage of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s Week Zero option to fill out its 2018 football schedule.
The Wardogs will open the season with an Aug. 24 game at Claremore Sequoyah.
As a result, they will have an open date on Friday, Sept. 14 — and will have only one preseason scrimmage, here on Aug. 17 with Locust Grove, Kellyville and Dewey.
“I believe we will get enough out of that to be ready to play,” said Gardner. “The major thing we must see is to have success early in the season is summer participation. The more we’re around the kids and the better shape we are in will be very beneficial for those warm August and September games.”
That’s nothing new to Miami coach Zach Gardner, who traditionally has had only one scrimmage while he was at Afton.
The OSSAA implemented the Week Zero rule in 2015, allowing teams to play a full 10-game schedule over 11 weeks.
It was designed to help teams that border other states and schools from smaller classifications to fill out their schedules.
Afton, Fairland, Quapaw, Commerce and Bluejacket have taken advantage of the Week Zero option in past seasons.
The Eagles opened 2015 against Miller, Missouri, and Commerce used the rule to start with Yale.
Missouri’s season opens a week prior to Oklahoma.
It’s not just the smaller schools that are playing Week Zero: Union, Jenks Owasso and Broken Arrow have moved their games up over the past couple of seasons.
Aug. 24 — at Claremore Sequoyah
Aug. 31 — Jay
Sept. 7 — at Tahlequah Sequoyah
Sept. 14 — bye
Sept. 21 — Grove
Sept. 28 — Catoosa
Oct. 5 — at Wagoner
Oct. 12 — at Tulsa McLain
Oct. 18 — Oologah
Oct. 26 — at Cleveland
Nov. 2 — Bristow
“I like it because of the bye week before heading into district play,” athletic director Chad Davis said.
Grove, Catoosa, Wagoner and McLain are district holdovers.
Cleveland moves over from District 4A-2 and Bristow moves up from Class 3A.
Tulsa Cascia Hall and Vinita have dropped down to 3A.
“We hope it gets a little easier what with Cascia being out, but I hated to see Vinita dropping out,” Davis said. “It was somewhat of a rivalry game.”
* While the schools have played regularly in other sports, this will be the first meeting on the gridiron between Claremore Sequoyah and MHS.
* The Wardogs and Tahlequah Sequoyah have met three times, the most recent in 1932, when they played to a 6-6 tie. Sequoyah won 18-12 in 1929 and Miami claimed a 21-14 decision in 1931.
* This will just be the second meeting ever between MHS and Bristow, when the Wardogs claimed a 14-6 win in the first round of the 1958 Class A playoffs.
* Jay and Miami renew a rivalry that has been idle since 2011, when the Bulldogs rolled 39-28.
* Cleveland and Miami — hometowns of the University of Oklahoma’s first two Heisman Trophy winners (Billy Vessels and Steve Owens) — have met six times dating back to 2004.
Their most recent was a 33-15 Wardog win in 2015.
* This is the first time for the Miami-Grove rivalry game to be a district opener. They’ve never met in Weeks 4 or 5 of a season.
MHS has opened the season against the Ridgerunners 12 times and closed it six — including 2016-17. The other meetings, by week include Week 2, two; Week 3, seven; Week 6, four; Week 7, one; Week 8, two, and Week 9, seven.
* A 55-12 win over Miami at Red Robertson Field in 2017 was Wagoner’s 15th straight against the Wardogs.
WHS tied the state record for consecutive wins at 42.
“The outlook and expectations for the 2018 season will be high,” Gardner said. “We know as a staff it will not happen over one season, but we’re ready to put in the time and effort for our kids to do it sooner than later.”
The Wardogs will begin spring practice Wednesday, May 16.
They will work out at 3:30 at the high school May 16-18 and the same time at Red Robertson Field on May 21-24.
The spring scrimmage will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25.