Shane Holland is pleased with how his Jay Bulldogs are playing heading into the second half of the season.
But he also realizes now-hot Miami will be a big challenge when the teams square off Friday night at Robertson Field in a key District 4A-3 clash.
A 52-8 blowout of Pryor bumped the Wardogs' record to 3-2 overall and 2-0 in the district.
Jay, however, dropped its first district game when second-ranked Grove coasted to 42-17 decision.
“We gave them some cheap ones,” Holland said. “We fumbled on the 1 and fumbled on the 3, and their first touchdown was off kind of a busted play. We felt we gave them 21 points right there. I can do the math since I teach it, and 42 minus 21 is 21.”
“We saw two different football teams,” Miami head coach Chris Risenhoover said. “In the first half, there was not much separation. The turning point was where Jay downed ball on the 1 after a fumble, then Grove got the ball back again on an interception. From there on, Grove kinda ruled.”
Grove had three second-half scoring drives inside the Jay 10 stall. On the other hand, Jay went seven straight possessions without hitting paydirt.
“They are a much improved football team,” Risenhoover said. “They return a lot of defensive linemen in an area where they were strong last year. That is a big concern. They have the quarterback (Boone Rogers, a 5-10, 187-pound senior) who is a three-year starter. They are pretty fast in the skill positions.”
The Bulldogs won only twice in 2006.
“He has a better grasp of what's going on and what we're trying to do in the offense,” Holland said. “He was not accustomed to what we were doing a year ago. We came in late with a new system and we asked him to do some things that he hadn't done in the past. This year he has a better feel for things and is making better decisions.
“Plus, our offensive line is playing better than we were this time last year. It was the same situation with them.”
Miami rolled up a season-high 454 yards in total offense during the lopsided win over Pryor. The Wardogs ran five fewer plays than Pryor (56-51) but outgained them by more than 300 yards.
They picked up 304 yards on the ground and threw for an additional 149.
“I like our team's personality,” Risenhoover said. “I like the way our kids enjoy game nights and practices.”
On the season, their offensive output is now up to 336.0 yards per game.
Tye Turley had a career-high 144 yards despite going out with a wrist injury in the third quarter.
At first, it was feared that he had suffered a break, but it's only a bone bruise.
“He practiced full speed yesterday (Tuesday),” Risenhoover said. “It's a bone bruise as opposed to a break. There is some pain, but he will pad it up and go.”
Turley has gained 429 yards on the season while scoring five times.
Quarterback Grant Longcrier has scrambled for 349 yards and three scores. He also has completed 41 of 82 passes for 729 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Trent Turner has snagged 20 passes for 306 yards and four TDs while Michael Anderson has 11 catches for 102 yards and one score.
Risenhoover hopes the offensive success carries over.
“Our execution will be a key,” he said. “We have to take care of the football and do things right on defense. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot on offense. We've played five games now and I have been pleased with how we've done in about 4 1/2 of them.
“Miami has played some awfully tough people,” Holland said. “They are a very good football team, probably playing as well as anybody in the district. They seem to be improved up front defensively.”
The Wardogs travel to Tulsa Webster next Friday.