A former Wardog is impressed with the improvement in the Miami High School football program.
"Rick has done a great job with those guys," said Pryor head coach J.R. Winton - a 1983 MHS graduate who still has family here. "Defensively, they were one of the best teams we played last year. You can tell immediately they are even better than they were. The greatest improvement they have made was on the offensive side."
The 2011 season is Winton's swan song: he's stepping down after five seasons to concentrate as duties as assistant principal at Pryor High School.
This will be the third straight Class 5A opponent the Wardogs (1-1) will face heading into District 4A-3 play next Friday at Jay.
While the Wardogs were squeezing out a 14-13 overtime victory over Claremore, Pryor coasted to a 38-9 victory at Fort Gibson.
"We didn't play very well," Winton said. "We played well enough in the last part of the second quarter and in the second half to pull one out. If you look at the score, it looks like 'man, they stomped them,' but we should have scored at least two more."
The Tigers carried a 17-9 lead into the fourth quarter, when they took charge with three game-breaking touchdowns.
Senior running backs Garrett Henning and Austen Brooner had 46-yard romps and sophomore back Alex McCammon added a 29-yarder.
Pryor opened the season with a 27-26 loss to Hilldale in a game that saw the Tigers squander a 20-7 third-quarter lead.
The winning TD came with 71 seconds left.
The 6-2, 200-pound Brooner has rushed for 268 of the Tigers' 526 yards on the ground. He has rushed for three touchdowns and has a fourth on a 35-yard fumble return against Fort Gibson.
Quarterback Christian Considine has throw for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
"They want to run the football - that is where they have their success," Miami head coach Rick Woods said.
The Wardogs want to maintain the balance they have shown in the first two games.
Thus far, they have rushed for 264 yards and have thrown for 218.
"We will try to stay as balanced as we can, probably in the 40-60 (pass-to-run) neighborhood," Wood said. "They are not real big up front. They are not as imposing as Claremore was, but as a team, they run well to the football. We are going to work hard at running the football."
This will be the 76th meeting in the series, with Miami holding a 47-28 advantage, dating back to 1925.
However, the Tigers have won the last two meetings by 41-0 and 14-7 margins.