JAY – Thursday's scrimmage with Jay was just what Miami needed, according to head coach Rick Woods.
“Boy, it was physical,” Woods said. “It was kinda what the doctor ordered. We needed it because that thing we got into the week before (at Tahlequah) wasn't set up right. We played a half of football and even got to run our special teams out and do some things. It was a good deal.”
The teams, who had been rivals in District 4A-3 up until this season, played a half of a simulated game, with neither scoring points. It was the final preseason tuneup for both, who open the season next Friday.
Miami hosts Grove while Jay opens at Vinita.
“We had some big plays offensively,” Woods said.
Quarterback Sawyer Pooler took off on a 48-yard gain on the second play of the opening series. Thanks to two key defensive plays by end Stephen Tanner, the Wardogs had to settle on a field goal, which missed the mark
“We had a tough time handling their fronts, stuff we didn't work on during the week,” Woods said. “We spent more time preparing for Grove. They are in that odd-man stack. We didn't spend any time at all. We didn't feel that was necessary.
“We just wanted to make sure we played hard. We knew they would get us in spots by what they were doing. We just didn't have time to spend on trying to win a scrimmage.”
Jay had chances of its own, thanks to quarterback Shai Jones – who stung the Wardogs during the second half of last year's 00-00 loss here that crippled MHS' playoff hopes.
“Jones is really a good player,” Woods said. “They have some schemes for him. He's not as fast as (former Wardog) Trent Turner, but he's the same type player. Trent was 70 percent of our offense that year and he (Jones) may be more for them. He has the capability of doing that. But I think ours (Pooler) does too. Sawyer has that capability. He came up with some big plays when we needed it.”
The Wardog defense held Jay out on drives that sputtered at the 5- and 10-yard lines.
Each team missed a field goal.
“Defensively, we gave up a couple big plays, but we held them out,” Woods said. “We played real good goalline defense. When our backs were against the wall, we rose to the occasion. In year's past, we have strugged with that. We did what we had to do to keep them out of the end zone.”
“I thought we did a pretty good job up front with our run blocking,” Jay head coach Darrin Wegner said. “Where we stubbed our toe was inside the 10. We get to go back and look at the film and see some things that need to be corrected, as well as look at the stuff we’re running down there and see if we need to make a few adjustments.”
— Richard Stroud with the Grove Sun contributed information to this report.