CATOOSA — They’re heading south for Friday night’s District 4A-3 game, but Miami wants to get things headed back north when the Wardogs battle Catoosa.
The Dogs opened the season with a nice win against Claremore Sequoyah, but since then have dropped consecutive games to Jay, Tahlequah Sequoyah and Grove.
“We just have to find a way to win,” Miami head coach Zach Gardner said. “We’ve competed the last two outings, but the thing about our kids is trying to let them know and have them believe that they can be successful. They just can’t quite get over the hump yet. That’s what we are trying to do. We’ve got them competing, but the difference is winning and losing and we’ve got to take that extra step.”
The Wardogs battled Grove virtually step-for-step for three quarters, but the hosts made a touchdown just 70 seconds into the final stanza stand up during a 28-21 win.
But Miami’s final three possessions of the night ended with an interception, the ball going over on downs and an interception at the Ridgerunner 29 with 11 seconds remaining.
Catoosa is winless through four games after suffering a 56-7 loss to 4A No. 3 Wagoner last week.
Jason Medrano, an assistant at Muskogee for 15 seasons, now is the Indians coach.
Aaron Meier, a 1990 graduate of Commerce High School and broke into coaching as an assistant at MHS under Bob Homer for several years before moving to Texas, stepped down after the 2018 season.
In 10 seasons at Catoosa, Meier was 71-42. They were 8-3 in 2018.
In the loss to Wagoner, the Indians didn’t get their initial first down until there was 10:09 remaining in the game.
The Indians finished with 43 yards in total offense, including minus-12 rushing.
“They are trying to transition to a new scheme for them, not something they have traditionally done year to year,” Gardner said. “They are throwing the ball pretty well. Wagoner has athletes all over the field, so they didn’t have much success there. Our Achilles’ heel has been defending the pass giving up the big play, so that is something we are going to have to hone in on and stop if we are going to win.”
Grove big-played the Wardogs, getting an 81-yard touchdown pass, a 48-yard run and an 80-yard pass.
“It’s definitely a winnable game, but its another district opponent who have picked the Wardogs to be their homecoming candidate,” Gardner said.
Grove marked its homecoming against the Dogs.
“We have go get that off the list so everybody thinks they can get a win off us for homecoming,” Gardner said.
MHS gets to celebrate its own homecoming Oct. 11, when it hosts Wagoner.