TULSA - Just because Tulsa Hale has won only one game, the Rangers aren't going to be a pushover, according to Miami head coach Chris Risenhoover.
“They are going to be a better football team than Rogers,” Risenhoover said, referring to Tulsa Rogers, which suffered a 57-15 pounding at the hands of the Wardogs last Thursday.
“They have bodies basically at every spot,” Risenhoover said “Rogers has fallen off recently with their numbers. I don't think Hale has fallen apart with eligibility. They are a team that really had an opportunity to beat Skiatook.”
The Rangers dropped a 23-20 decision to Skiatook then broke into the win column with a 38-13 romp over Rogers.
Sophomore running back Simone Fields had four touchdowns and 167 yards to lead the way for Hale, which also feasted on four Rogers turnovers.
Since then, Hale has been blanked 56-0 by 5A No. 4 Bixby and 63-0 by No. 1 Tulsa Washington.
They also were blanked by 5A No. 7 Tulsa East Central and 4A No. 11 Tulsa McLain the first two weeks of the season.
Still, Risenhoover considers Hale a genuine threat.
“They have some outstanding skill kids,” Risenhoover said. “Both of their receivers would have a chance to play for any team in the district. The quarterback throws the ball decent. They have the capability of putting some points on the board.”
“It's the same thing on the defensive side - they have looked pretty competitive at times, then at other times, they have given up some big plays. We hope we can handle them.”
The Rangers operate from a two tight end, one back offensive scheme. In addition to Fields, senior wide receiver Jarvis Harvey is a threat.
“He's caused a lot of people problems,” Risenhoover said. “We've got to keep him bottled up.”
The Wardogs have generated 841 yards in total offense the last two weeks while pounding now-ice cold Skiatook and turnover-prone Rogers.
Skiatook had lost just once the first five weeks, but now has lost back-to-back against Miami and Tulsa Kelley.
Rogers coughed the ball up nine times in last Thursday's win by the Wardogs.
They had 441 against Skiatook last week in a 36-6 win, then came back with 403 against the Ropers.
The Wardogs, with eight different players getting the call at least once, cranked out 300 yards on the ground. Quarterback Trent Turner led the way with 123 yards and two touchdowns while Jeff Meeks added 80 and Grant Longcrier netted 61. Longcrier scored twice while Meeks added one score.
“We just want to continue working on our timing on the offensive side,” Risenhoover said. “I was real happy with the way the offensive line played against Rogers. We're getting a little better every week. We had very few scheme busts. The receivers blocked real well down field. If we get that done again, we should keep the ball and put some points on the board.”
The recent bursts have pushed the Wardogs' average yardage per game up to 301.0. That's up from 252.5 two weeks into the season.
Longcrier has scored eight touchdowns and one conversion while Turner has six TDs - five in the past two games.
Seven other players have at least one touchdown, including Jordan Simons, who returned a Rogers interception 50 yards - the first defensive TD of the season for Miami.
The back-to-back wins have enabled Miami to get back into the 5A-3 playoff picture.
They're tied with Kelley and Skiatook, all three standing 2-2. Tulsa Washington, which move to the top spot in Class 5A in the AP high school poll, and Bixby appear headed for a Nov. 7 showdown on Lee Snyder Field to settle the district title.
If Miami, Kelley and Skiatook remain tied until Week 10 (Miami plays at Kelley on Nov. 7), then district points will settle the playoff pecking order.
And Miami is currently in the best shape, standing at plus-4. Kelley is at 0 and Skiatook fell to minus-13 on the basis of its losses to Miami and Booker T.
“We can't allow ourselves to hit a bump because they (the Rangers) have the capability of pulling off the upset if you allow them to,” Risenhoover said.
MHS hosts Pryor next Friday.