MIAMI — Will having a week off be a pivotal point in the season for the Miami Wardogs?
Head coach Zach Gardner hopes so.
“We’re going to get back to commitment, try to develop a different outcome,” Gardner said following a 49-10 loss to Verdigris in the Dogs’ final non-district game Saturday, Sept. 12 at Red Robertson Field.
“We’ve got to do things better within before things are going to happen with a different outcome after those 48 minutes,” he said. “We’re going to go back as a staff and grind and expect the same out of the kids, put maybe the hardest two weeks we have as a group thus far and see if we can get this thing changed around.”
Thing got off to a horrendous start for MHS as the Cardinals returned a blocked punt 17 yards and an interception 70 yards in the span of 4:35 in the opening frame.
Verdigris four more times in the first half, opening up a 42-0 halftime lead then coasted to a third straight lopsided win over the Wardogs.
Miami was outscored 115-58 in its three non-district games. Forty-two of those points came in a season-opening loss to Dewey.
“We just want a full commitment and being invested, then see what the outcome can be versus the way we prepared this past week,” Gardner said. “It’s a different day with the COVID and the kids coming and going. It’s tough. I get it. But everybody else is dealing with it at the same time, too.
“We’re all playing on the same level playing field besides the fact that the kids can’t be there due to it. We’re all fighting this battle together. We can’t just use youth and uncertain times as a crutch as far as getting 50 points hung on us. We’ve got to own up to it at some point and do something about it.”
Miami’s points came on a 21-yard field goal by Skyler Judd late in the third quarter, making the score 42-3.
Then with 2:22 remaining, Josh Thronebury exploded on a 62-yard touchdown run and Judd tacked on the PAT kick.
The Wardogs weren’t without their chances.
They had gone from their 27-yard line to the Verdigris 38 when Keaton Jinks was attempting a double pass that was intercepted by Verdigris lineman Alek Hess and returned for the pick-6
“I feel we may have gotten a little greedy. I feel the whole momentum changed and the wheels fell off when we threw the pick-6 to the lineman,” Gardner said. “That was a big dagger for us to go down two scores. I felt we had something going and we look up, its 14-0 and just escalated from there.”
Judd missed on a field goal attempt on the final play of the first half and they came up empty on a drive in the third quarter.
Verdigris had only 206 yards in total offense in the game — just 11 more than the Dogs.
VHS has 126 passing yards and added only 80 via the run.
“Not to take anything away from those guys, but they are well balanced and have athletes all over the field,” Gardner said. “They have some nice size, but their kids are very mobile. We got in a couple situations where they have one or two offensive scores and two special team scores off us. I can’t believe they had 206 yards of offense and they put 49 points on the board.”
Thronebury headed up a Miami ground game that produced 117 yards.
He finished with 94 on 17 carries while Karson Jinks and Carson Folks added 15 and 8, respectively.
Karson Jinks was 12 of 21 passing for 78 yards.
Keaton Jinks had six receptions for 36 yards, Garrett Walls three, Braylon Riley two and Thronebury one.