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Howard, the final piece to the puzzle in the Lady Broncos state title chase

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When it comes to team sports, a dominant athlete can’t win a championship by themselves. He or she needs help both from their teammates and/or a great coach to get them over the hump of being the last one standing when all the dust settles.

Just look at LeBron James. He’s the best basketball player in the entire world and possibly the top overall athlete, but even he couldn’t get over the hump of winning an NBA Championship without the help from fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

In the football scene, look at John Elway. The longtime Denver Bronco is arguably one of, if not the best, quarterbacks to ever play the game, but he wasn’t able to get that coveted ring until Mike Shanahan took over as the head coach in the mile-high city.Trophy One

Mustang High School senior Jayden Chestnut has been one of the best high school softball players, not only in the state of Oklahoma but in the entire country, for the past four years, but she had not been able to get over that seemingly unconquerable mountain of winning the state championship in her first three years on the job as the Lady Broncos ace pitcher.

Chestnut entered her final year of high school softball eligibility with one goal in mind, and that was to win the state championship as a senior and go out on top.

Sure, that is every senior athlete’s goal, but being a part of the Mustang softball program, winning the state crown is a reality every year.

The Lady Broncos are not just one of the top high school softball programs in the state, but they are one of the best overall high school athletic programs in Oklahoma.

Year-in and year-out, Mustang softball is one of the top teams in Class 6A. They always win their regional, home or away, and qualify for the state tournament. However, that elusive state championship has slipped out of their fingers time and time again.

Going into the 2014 season, it had been 26 years since the Lady Broncos won the state title on the diamond.

Great softball teams, players and coaches have walked through the halls of Mustang High School since 1988, but none have been able to bring back the gold.

Chestnut had gotten close in her first three years, as she had two semifinal appearances and one quarterfinal appearance in the state tournament, but something was missing from the softball program at Mustang.

It wasn’t the players. The Lady Broncos are loaded with a talented roster every time they take the field to open a season in August, a roster that is more than capable of bringing home the crown.

The one piece to the puzzle that was missing was the head coach to push them over the top.

Think of the Mustang softball program as a Rolls Royce. As the head coach of the Lady Broncos, it’s like being handed the keys to a brand new Rolls Royce and told not to screw it up.

Well, the coach in Chestnut’s first three years found ways to screw it up. The Lady Broncos found ways to get to the state tournament despite their coach, but in order to win a state championship, you need both players AND the coach.

The previous coach decided it was time to hit the road and find another coaching position elsewhere, so it was time for Mustang’s athletic department to step up and find the coach that would finally give Chestnut and her teammates a chance to bring home a title.

Mustang struck gold when they hired Bryan Howard out of Washington, Okla. Howard had the credentials and the charisma it was going to take to get the job done in Mustang.

Howard took over the softball program during the spring semester of last year, and the attitude within the program immediately changed.

Howard had won several state championships while being the head coach at Washington High School, but he had never been a head coach at the 6A level.

Howard brought a level of intensity to the Lady Broncos softball program they had never seen before. It was what the doctor ordered for Mustang, as the players all latched on for the ride and bought into what Howard was selling.

Chestnut led the way, as she and the rest of the players in the program liked Howard’s style so much, they said they would run through a wall for their new coach.

The new season got under way in late August and Howard made a bold move to open the year. The first-year coach at Mustang was starting multiple freshmen around Chestnut and the other players who had been on the varsity for multiple seasons.

Well, big risks come with big rewards, and this was a big reward. The Lady Broncos consistently started five freshmen throughout the entire season, and those freshmen played like they were seasoned veterans.

Mustang was again at the forefront of the 6A softball scene in Oklahoma, led by Chestnut and a crop of young freshmen headed up by Howard and a coaching staff that demanded perfection.

The combination was perfect as the Lady Broncos went on to win the 2014 Class 6A softball state championship with a record of 36-4 and an unblemished postseason mark of 6-0.

Chestnut finished the 2014 season with a record of 24-3 and an ERA of .92 in 159 innings pitched, with 242 strikeouts, 38 walks, 15 shutouts and eight no-hitters.

In her four years at Mustang, Chestnut had a record of 80-21, an ERA of 1.39, pitched 613 innings, had 744 strikeouts, walked 160 batters, had 40 shutouts, had 10 no-hitters and four perfect games.

Chestnut saw her team win 117 games in four years, in which she won 68 percent of those in the circle for the Lady Broncos.

The hard-throwing University of Oklahoma commit is no doubt one of the best high school softball players to ever come through the state of Oklahoma, but just like other dominant athletes in team sports, you need more than just yourself to bring home a title, you need the coach.

Mustang got it right, as Howard was the piece of the puzzle that Chestnut needed to bring the gold back to her hometown.

Lady Broncos bring home Class 6A softball state championship

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When first-year softball coach Bryan Howard took the Mustang job last year, he had one goal in mind for the Lady Broncos softball program – to win a state championship.

Less than a year after taking the head coaching job, Howard and the Mustang softball team realized that goal as the Lady Broncos won the Class 6A softball state championship by beating east-side power Broken Arrow 4-3 in eight innings last Saturday evening at the Ball Fields at Firelake in commentary new.qxd

“This is what Mr. (Chuck) Bailey and I talked about when we met in Norman last year and talked about this job,” Howard said. “I knew this was a special group the moment I started working with them. I knew we had what it took to win a state championship. It’s really a testament to the girls that they accepted me and accepted what I wanted them to do.”

The 2014 state title was the first state crown the Bronco softball program has won since 1988. Mustang won three games in the state tournament, starting with Tulsa Union on Oct. 16 in the quarterfinals.

The Lady Broncos beat the Lady Redskins 2-1 behind a stellar pitching performance from senior pitcher Jayden Chestnut. Last Friday, MHS took on defending state champion Southmoore in the semifinal round of the state tournament, and Chestnut was once again dominant, as the hard-throwing right-hander shut out the Lady Sabercats 2-0.Celebration Six

Chestnut took the circle for the Lady Broncos in the state championship game and was again stout as she held a Lady Tigers offense that was on fire to three runs in eight innings that led to Mustang’s one-run win in the state finals.

Chestnut finished her senior year with an overall record of 24-3. The University of Oklahoma commit and the rest of the Lady Broncos softball senior class finished their four years of high school eligibility with an overall record of 117-34 and four appearances in the state tournament, including a state championship, two state semifinal appearances and one quarterfinal appearance.

“It’s such a great feeling, especially with it being my senior year,” Chestnut said. “We all worked really hard to get to this point. It’s just a really awesome feeling. Coach Howard pushed us from the time he got here. He believed in us from day one, and once we all bought in, we started to believe we could do this.”

In the championship game against Broken Arrow, the Lady Broncos didn’t waste any time getting on the scoreboard as Chestnut helped herself out in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI-single, driving in freshman Kaitlyn Thomas and making the score 1-0 MHS after one.

Chestnut held the Lady Tigers scoreless in the second and third innings, and in the bottom of the third inning, it was Chestnut again helping her cause by driving in fellow senior Caisey Jones to give Mustang a 2-0 lead after three innings against BA.

Both teams were scoreless in the fourth inning, but in the top of the fifth, the Tigers bit back with a three-run home run over the left field wall, giving Broken Arrow the 3-2 lead. MHS didn’t score in the bottom half of the inning, making it 3-2 BA after five.

Chestnut shut down the Broken Arrow offense in the top of the sixth inning, and in the bottom of the sixth, freshman Zoe Jones tied the game with one swing of the bat with a solo home run that sailed over the left-field wall, making the score 3-3 heading into the seventh inning.

Both BA and Mustang got runners on base in the seventh inning but were unable to get them across the plate, so the game was sent into extra innings.

The Lady Tigers got a runner on base in the top of the eighth inning but Chestnut closed the door on BA, holding them scoreless in the inning.

Mustang got its first three runners on base in the bottom half of the inning. After a ground-out, where BA got the force out at home, freshman Karis Clark hit a towering shot over the center fielder’s head that scored junior Lexi Vargas from third base. That was all the Lady Broncos needed as they captured the state championship.

“Coach Howard was telling me to tag up,” Vargas said. “I knew the ball was going to go over her head, I wanted to just run home, it was crazy. This is such an awesome feeling.”

The Bronco girls finished with a record of 36-4 on the year and did not lose a game in the postseason, as they won all three games in their regional and all three games in the state tournament.

Six Lady Bronco seniors played their final game for Mustang softball in the state title game last Saturday night. Chestnut, Jones, Hailey Milburn, Jackie Kelm, Ashley Martin and Aubrea Martinsorrels ended their high school softball careers with a state title.

“I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now,” Howard said. “We knew we could go win a state championship and we accomplished that goal. It’s the expectation, we expect to go win it next year too.”

Opportunity knocks at Mustang’s door with trip to Owasso

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Mustang football will try to accomplish something no other west-side team has been able to accomplish this season Friday night when the Broncos travel to Owasso for a district showdown with the Rams.

So far in 2014, the four east-side schools that are in the Class 6A-1 division have not been beaten by a west-side school.

The Broncos will be the west side’s next chance at a win over the “big four” from the east side when they take on Owasso at 7 p.m. Friday on the Rams home commentary new.qxd

Mustang and Owasso come into the game with identical overall records of 6-1, but the Broncos hold the edge over the Rams in district play, coming in at 4-0 and Owasso sitting at 3-1.

Owasso is coached by Bill Patterson.

MHS is currently tied with Tulsa Union at the top of the district, as both sit 4-0 with three games to play.

“We just have to go up there and play our game,” Mustang senior safety Zach Davis said. “We can’t get caught up in the east side vs. west side stuff. We have to worry about what we can control, and that is how we play.”

The Broncos enter Friday’s game after beating Yukon 41-14 in week one, falling at home to Stillwater 35-26 in week two, taking out Edmond Memorial 57-37 in week three, beating Edmond North 34-20 in week four, hammering Putnam City North 46-0 in week five, coming back to defeat Norman North 41-27 in week six and hanging on to beat Southmoore 7-3 last Friday night.

Owasso comes into the district showdown with Mustang after taking down Broken Arrow 14-7 in week one, throttling Muskogee 34-0 in week two, upsetting Jenks 7-6 in week three, hammering Norman North 45-20 in week four, surviving Southmoore 13-9 in week five, smashing Moore 66-9 in week six and dropping its first game of the season at Tulsa Union 37-13 in week seven.

Mustang is averaging 31.2 points per game coming into the contest with Owasso and is averaging 408.6 total yards, including 196.8 rush yards and 211.9 pass yards per outing.

The Broncos defense is allowing opponents 17.2 points per game and an average of 257.4 total yards per game, including 102.8 rush yards and 154.8 pass yards per contest.

Owasso’s offense is averaging 27.5 points per game, while its defense is one of the top scoring defenses in the state, giving up just 12.6 points per game.

Rams quarterback Gabe Neph has completed 60 passes out of 106 attempts this season for 863 yards, with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Neph also leads Owasso on the ground this year with 74 carries for 318 yards and six touchdowns. Wide receiver Demond Sampson has caught 20 passes this season for 245 yards and three touchdowns.

Rams defender Gunner Green is the leading tackler this season with 56 on the year.

“We know we are going to have to play really well up there,” Davis said. “We will have a great week of practice and be ready to go Friday night.”

Broncos hang on to defeat Southmoore at home

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Sometimes in sports, the motto “survive and advance” is used to describe a team that doesn’t play its best but still finds a way to win.

Last Friday, Mustang was that team, as the Broncos survived a scare from Southmoore to hang on and beat the Sabercats 7-3.

The home district victory improved Mustang’s overall record to 6-1 this season and 4-0 in district play. Southmoore dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-3 in the commentary new.qxd

The 4-0 district record for the Broncos has them tied at the top of their district with Tulsa Union, with an identical record of 6-1 and 4-0.

Even though the Sabercats have a sub-par record, this wasn’t the first close loss they have had this season.

Southmoore only lost by four points at No.2 ranked Owasso and was neck-and-neck with No.1 ranked Tulsa Union through the first half until the Redskins pulled away in the second.

“That’s the best 1-6 football team I’ve ever seen,” Mustang senior safety Zach Davis said. “They were really big and physical on the line of scrimmage and really talented on the edges. We knew we were going to be in a dog fight against them (Southmoore).”

The Broncos are used to putting up big offensive numbers, but last Friday was an anomaly for Mustang, as the Broncos had to rely on their defense to get the job done against the Sabercats.

The Bronco defense answered the bell, as it held Southmoore without a touchdown in the game and only allowed the Sabercats 135 total yards of offense.

The one touchdown scored in the contest came in the first quarter on Mustang’s second offensive possession of the game. MHS went on a long sustaining drive that lasted more than six minutes of game time. The series was capped off by a 4-yard touchdown scamper by senior running back Chase Brown.

Southmoore moved the ball on Mustang in the second quarter, but couldn’t get into the end zone. The Sabercats had to settle for one field goal in the second frame, which would be all they would get in the entire game.

Mustang’s defense held the Southmoore offense with eight total first downs in the game. The Sabercats managed just 92 yards rushing, while throwing for 43 yards.

The Broncos were able to get off the field on third downs against Southmoore as well, as the ‘Cats were 4 out of 13 on third down conversions.

Mustang’s defense forced one SM turnover, an interception by junior cornerback Kiante Miles. The Sabercats were penalized five times for 50 yards in the game.

The Broncos offensive didn’t have its best statistical day, but did enough to get the W, finishing with 308 yards total and 20 first downs. Mustang ran for 197 yards and passed for 111 yards in the game.

The Broncos converted five third downs out of 11 attempts. They had three turnovers (all interceptions) and three penalties for 30 yards last Friday night.

MHS junior quarterback Chandler Garrett had 111 yards through the air in the game on 11 completions out of 21 attempts with three interceptions.

Brown finished with 66 rushing yards on 21 carries and one touchdown, and senior receiver David Parker finished with 38 receiving yards on three receptions.

Southmoore quarterback Casey Thompson finished the game with 43 yards passing on six completions out of 14 attempts with one interception.

Sabercat running back Darrian Ross had 61 yards on 11 carries, and receiver Quindon Lewis had 25 yards receiving on two receptions.

“Coach (Mark) Yates told us we were going to have to win the game for our team,” Davis said. “I’m really proud of the way the whole defense played. We have come a long way since the beginning of the season.”

Harriers compete in first-ever COAC race

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Mustang News sports reports,

The Mustang cross country teams competed in the first-ever Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference cross country race on Oct. 14 in Norman. The girls squad took eighth place overall, while the boys finished ninth overall.

On the girls side of the course, Norman took first place overall, Norman North finished second, Edmond North took third place, Westmoore placed fourth, Deer Creek finished fifth overall, Yukon placed sixth, Edmond Memorial took seventh, Edmond Santa Fe finished ninth, Stillwater placed 10th, Southmoore finished 11th and Moore placed 12th overall.

Here are individual results for the Mustang girls from the COAC race:

Kyra Fuller took eighth place overall with a time of 20:28.7. Jaci Jones placed 38th overall with a time of 22:09.1. Kaylyn Brooks took 43rd place with a time of 22:18.6.

Lauren Grisham placed 47th with a time of 22:41.2. Savannah Basco finished in 56th place with a time of 23:16.1. Tyler Schwerlmey placed 57th overall with a time of 23:30.9, and Jewel Thompson finished in 66th place with a time of 24:23.2.

Norman North’s Isabella Rose took first place overall in the individual race with a time of 18:39.8.

On the boys side of the race, Edmond Memorial took first place, Deer Creek placed second, Norman took third, Norman North placed fourth, Edmond Santa Fe finished fifth, Yukon took sixth place, Stillwater placed seventh, Westmoore placed eighth, Edmond North took 10th and Moore placed 11th overall.

Here are the individual results from the Mustang boys in the COAC competition:

Lance Frost finished third overall with a time of 16:36.8. Skyler Wade placed 31st with a time of 17:44.7. Alex Fischer took 42nd place with a time of 18:11.3.

Josh Griffin placed 51st overall with a time of 18:30.9. Martin Gonzalez took 53rd overall with a time of 18:35.8. Ashleigh Ruttman placed 61st overall with a time of 18:57.6, and Christopher Chesnut finished 68th with a time of 19:20.2.

Deer Creek’s Bryce Balenseifen finished first overall with a time of 16:08.8.

Mustang will participate in the regional race at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Edmond Santa Fe High School.

Pokes suffer worst loss since 2008 in Fort Worth

OSU COTTON (David Glidden)

By Glen Miller,

FORT WORTH, Texas – Oklahoma State’s initial visit here to face Texas Christian University in Big 12 Conference play was a game full of firsts in which the Cowboys hope to never repeat.

Oklahoma State, ranked No.15 at the time, suffered a 42-9 drubbing by the 12th-ranked Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium to fall to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the league standings.

The loss was the first time Oklahoma State has been held without a touchdown since losing 27-0 to Oklahoma in the 2009 regular-season finale. The 33-point loss was the largest losing margin for an OSU team since a 56-20 setback to Texas Tech in 2008.

The setback to TCU was the first for the Cowboys since 1992 and ended a three-game win streak over the Horned Frogs. It also ended Oklahoma State’s four-game Big 12 Conference road winning streak.

Oklahoma State never led, instead giving up a 34-yard touchdown run to B.J. Catalon, followed by a 77-yard pass from Trevone Boykin to Josh Doctson.

The Cowboys briefly cut that deficit to 14-3 on a 30-yard Ben Grogan field goal, but the defense then allowed a 84-yard Boykin to Doctson touchdown hook-up just 15 seconds later.

Oklahoma State closed to within 21-9 on field goals of 27 and 28 yards by Grogan in the second period, but gave up a late 36-yard scoring run by Catalon to fall behind 28-9 at the half.

Texas Christian added both a running and a throwing touchdown in the third period to secure the 33-point margin. The Horned Frogs rolled up 676 total yards against the Cowboys defense, with Boykin completing 26-of-39 passes with one interception for 410 yards. Doctson caught seven of those passes for 225 yards.

Catalon rushed for 109 yards on 10 carries as TCU closed with 291 rushing yards.

Oklahoma State was held to 258 total yards and was forced into nine punts. Two other drives ended in Daxx Garman interceptions. Garman was 10-of-25 passing for 132 yards, with his top target being Mustang’s David Glidden, who had five catches for 59 yards.

The Cowboys ground game was held to 152 yards on 39 carries, an average of 3.2 yards per rush compared to 6.5 for the Horned Frogs. Desmond Roland gained 90 yards on 23 carries, while Tyreek Hill had 11 carries for 60 yards.

Mistakes doom Sooners in loss to Kansas State

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Through the first seven games of the 2014 college football season, the Oklahoma Sooners’ dreams of being a part of the first ever major college football playoff have been all but shattered.

The Sooners suffered their second defeat of the season last Saturday with a 31-30 heartbreaking loss at home to Kansas commentary new.qxd

Missed opportunities highlight Oklahoma’s defeat as usual clutch place-kicker, senior Michael Hunnicutt, came up short on not just one but two field goals against the Wildcats last Saturday.

The missed field goal everyone will be talking about for a long time will be the 19-yard shank late in the fourth quarter that would have given OU the lead 33-31 and forcing K-State to go on a game-winning drive with less than three minutes to play, but instead the ‘Cats got the ball back and ran the clock out.

The loss dropped the Sooners to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 Conference play, while Kansas State improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12.

“My compliments as always to Coach Snyder, their staff and their team playing another hard-fought football game,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “A lot was positive but again, too many big mistakes that you can’t overcome. You can’t overcome an interception for a touchdown, you can’t overcome missed field goals, you can’t overcome not getting the ball in the end zone when it is third-and-one, you can’t overcome not being able to protect an extra point. Those all were factors that put us in the spot we were in.”

One week after getting dominated in the statistical department but still finding a way to win the game against Texas, the Sooners learned what it’s like to be on the other side of the stick.

Oklahoma controlled the statistics in the game, all except one, which was the score when the clock struck zero.

The Sooners totaled 30 first downs compared to Kansas State’s 17 in the contest.

Oklahoma finished the game with 533 total yards of offense, while the ‘Cats totaled 385 yards of offense. OU rushed for 198 yards and passed for 335 yards in the game, while KSU ran for 160 yards and threw for 225 yards.

The Sooners had one turnover in the game, but it was a big one as quarterback Trevor Knight was picked off inside OU’s own 5-yard line, with the K-State defender easily walking into the end zone for a pick six.

KSU did not have a turnover in the contest.

OU was penalized three times for 19 yards and Kansas State was penalized two times for 20 yards.

Knight finished the game with 318 yards passing on 26 completions out of 32 attempts, with three touchdowns and one interception.

Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine finished the day with 90 yards on 24 carries and one touchdown. Receiver Sterling Shepard had a record day through the air with 15 receptions for 197 yards and one touchdown.

Sooner linebacker Jordan Evans led the defense in tackles with seven in the game.

KSU quarterback Jake Waters finished the game with 225 passing yards on 15 completions out of 23 attempts with two touchdowns.

Waters was also the leading rusher on the day for K-State with 10 carries for 77 yards with one touchdown. Receiver Tyler Lockett had six catches for 86 yards and one touchdown in the game.

Kansas State defender Jonathan Truman led the ‘Cats in tackles with 17.

Oklahoma is off this week before returning to action Nov. 1 when they travel to Ames, Iowa, to take on Iowa State.

Stoops, Snyder meet again as Sooners and Wildcats collide in Norman

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It is not very often in sports when a pupil goes up against a mentor, but at 11 a.m. Saturday in Norman, that will take place when Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder leads his Wildcats into Memorial Stadium for a match up with OU head coach Bob Stoops’ Sooners.

Stoops was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State under Snyder for numerous years in Manhattan, Kan. Stoops also coached with Snyder under Hayden Frye at Iowa before the duo came to commentary new.qxd

“Coach Snyder is a great coach,” said Stoops during Monday’s media luncheon. “Again, I appreciated my time with him. I loved the seven years that I was there; they were great for me and I worked with great people along with him.”

Oklahoma comes into the game nationally ranked No. 11, while the Wildcats enter Norman with a national ranking of 14. OU sits 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 Conference play, while KSU is 4-1 with a 2-0 Big 12 mark.

The game will be nationally televised by ESPN with coverage beginning at 11 a.m.

The Sooners enter Saturday after beating their rival Texas in the Red River Showdown 31-27 last Saturday in Dallas. K-State had the week off last week, which means they will be well-rested and well-prepared for OU.

Snyder said every game during the season is important.

“You only get 12 maybe 13 opportunities to (play) out of 365 days, so you can’t go through and pick and choose which is more important because they all count,” said Snyder during his weekly press conference. “Every single game counts. You can’t demean the value of the game, the significance of the game or the importance of a game.”

Coming into the game offensively, Oklahoma is averaging 40.5 points per game and 445.5 total yards per contest. OU is rushing the ball for an average of 191 yards per game and passing for an average of 254.5 yards per outing.

The Sooners have amassed 127 first downs this season, while turning the football over just seven times. Oklahoma has been penalized 31 times for 310 total yards this season.

OU quarterback Trevor Knight has a passing efficiency rating of 128.7 this year. Knight has thrown 1,503 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions on 102 completions out of 185 attempts.

Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine is leading the way for the Sooners on the ground 577 yards on 109 carries with nine touchdowns.

Sooner receiver Sterling Shepard leads the way through the air with 34 receptions for 714 yards with four touchdowns.

Offensively for the Wildcats, they are averaging 40.8 points per game and 444 total yards per game. KSU is rushing for an average of 189 yards per contest and passing for an average of 255 yards per game.

Kansas State has totaled 118 first downs this season, while committing six turnovers. K-State has been penalized 20 times for a total of 162 yards.

KSU quarterback Jake Waters has a passing efficiency rating of 147.8 this year, and has passed for a total of 1,206 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions on 93 completions out of 143 attempts.

Waters also leads the Wildcats on the ground this season with 388 yards on 69 carries with six touchdowns.

K-State receiver Tyler Lockett leads the Cats through the air with 29 receptions for 399 yards with three touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the football for the Sooners, they are allowing 21.5 points per game and a total of 391.7 yards per contest. Opponents are rushing for an average of 116 yards per game and passing for an average of 275.7 yards per outing.

Oklahoma has forced 15 turnovers this year on defense.

The top three leading tacklers for the OU defense are linebacker Dominique Alexander with 49 tackles, linebacker Jordan Evans with 49 tackles and safety Ahmad Thomas with 30 tackles.

The Kansas State defense has been stout this season allowing opponents to score an average of 21 points per game and allowing a total of 315.8 yards per contest. Teams are rushing for an average of 81.4 yards per game and passing for an average of 234.4 yards per outing.

K-State has forced seven turnovers this season.

The top three tacklers on the Wildcat defense are Dante Barnett with 31 tackles, Randall Evans with 27 tackles and Travis Green with 18 tackles.

Pokes face sharp challenge with Horned Frogs

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By Glen Miller,

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will try to avoid repeating history Saturday when the No.15 Cowboys take the field in Fort Worth against No.12 Texas Christian.

The last time these two teams met at Amon G. Carter Stadium, the Horned Frogs defeated Oklahoma State 13-11 back in 1992.

“We’ve got a good challenge ahead of us, playing a very good football team. They’re a very fast football team and well-coached. They’re manufacturing a lot of points on offense.

“They’re successful on third downs, so we definitely have our work cut out for us. This could very well be the best team we’ve played, give or take,” said OSU head coach Mike Gundy in his weekly press conference.

Oklahoma State holds the series lead with the Horned Frogs by a 13-9-2 edge, with the first meeting dating back to 1915 – in which the Cowboys won by a 13-0 margin. Texas Christian holds a 5-4-2 edge over OSU in games played in Fort Worth.

“We just look at it like another game. We just go out there and just make plays and do what the coaches tell us to do. We are going to prepare for this game like we prepare for any other game,” said OSU defensive tackle Vincent Taylor on facing TCU on the Horned Frogs homecoming.

It’s the first meeting in Fort Worth with both schools under the Big 12 Conference banner. The Horned Frogs played the first two years in Stillwater, in which they are 3-7 in the series, after inheriting Texas A&M’s league schedule back in 2012.

Texas Christian brings a 4-1 overall record into the game, while sporting a 1-1 Big 12 mark after losing an offensive shootout last week to Baylor by a 61-58 margin. The Horned Frogs have already shaken up the league standings after knocking off the Oklahoma Sooners in Fort Worth by a 37-33 margin.

The Horned Frogs sport the league’s second best scoring offense with 29 touchdowns and nine field goals through five games. Tack on the 28 extra points and TCU has scored 229 points for an average of 45.8 points per game.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin leads his team in rushing and ranks 10th in the conference with 305 yards and three touchdowns on 57 carries. He averages 61.0 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. The Horned Frogs have rushed for a total of 924 yards on 191 attempts, with B.J. Catalon logging 288 yards and six scores on 59 rushes.

Boykin ranks second in the league and seventh nationally in total offense with an average of 353.6 yards per game. He’s logged at least 332 total yards in each of the five games this season. He’s thrown for 1,463 yards and 11 touchdowns on 120-of-208 passing with two interceptions.

The Horned Frogs have 15 receivers with at least one catch each. Josh Doctson leads the way with 272 yards on 24 catches, followed by Deante’ Gray with 19 grabs for 208 yards. Kolby Listenbee leads in overall yardage with 418 on 18 catches. All three receivers have three touchdowns each.

Oklahoma State will counter with an offense that is averaging 420 yards per game and logged 2,524 total yards. The Cowboys have rushed for 930 yards this season for an average of 3.8 yards per carry and 155 per game.

Desmond Roland leads the way with 391 yards and seven touchdowns on 96 carries, followed by Tyreek Hill’s 205 yards on 38 totes. Rennie Childs is close behind with 199 yards on 50 attempts.

Quarterback Daxx Garman has thrown for 1,361 yards in five games, logging 10 touchdowns against five interceptions. He’s completed 92-of-159 passes for 57.9 percent.

Brandon Shepard leads all receivers with 18 catches for 299 yards, followed closely by Mustang’s David Glidden with 265 yards on 18 grabs. Both receivers average over 44 yards per game.

Family atmosphere leads Lady Broncos into state tournament

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Mustang softball is no stranger to success, as they are one of the top athletic programs not only at Mustang High School, but in the entire state.

The Lady Broncos are used to winning their regional and qualifying for the state tournament, but they have never gotten over the hump and won a state title, despite having some of the best players in the state year-in and commentary new.qxd

Mustang continued that strong tradition of being one of the top teams in Oklahoma and hosting and winning their regional and qualifying for the state tournament, but this year the seniors say this is the first time they feel like they can actually bring home the state championship.

“We are a family this year,” Mustang senior pitcher Jayden Chestnut said. “Everyone likes each other and we all like being around one another. We actually hang out and do things together outside of softball, where in the past, that wouldn’t happen. We tried, but it never happened.”

So what is the difference between this year and all of the years before for the Mustang softball program?

A new coaching regime has come to Lady Broncos softball and completely changed the atmosphere of the program.

Bryan Howard is in his first year on the job as the head coach for Mustang softball. Howard is no stranger to winning state championships, as he has stood at the top of the mountain with his previous school, Washington High School in Washington, Okla.

“This senior class has bought in to what I want out of our players,” Howard said. “That’s one of the things that makes this group so special. Without the blessing from our seniors, it would be very hard to get the younger girls to buy into my system. I’m very thankful for them.”

Several of those changes include summer workouts and summer games as a team that helped start the process of team bonding, following by weekend practices during the season when they didn’t have games.

“We have been around each other a lot more,” Chestnut said. “Coach Howard has changed the attitude of this program. We all look forward to coming to softball every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s practice or a game, we all love coming here, because we are having fun. We are working harder than we ever have, but we are having fun.”

This senior class is no stranger to winning softball games. They have a record of 114-34 in the four years. They have been to the state tournament every year. They have had two semifinal appearances and one quarterfinal appearance.

Senior shortstop Caisey Jones said it’s time to bring a state title to Mustang.

“This is the best chance we have ever had to win it all because we have really good chemistry as a team,” she said. “We are all really close and like playing together, so that is going to make a difference this year in the state tournament.”

Mustang will open up state tournament play at 3 p.m. today in Shawnee against Tulsa Union. All of the state tournament games will take place at the Ballfields at Firelake at 18160 Rangeline Road.

The state tournament is single-elimination, so the Lady Broncos must win to stay alive for the title. If they win today, they will return to action at 2 p.m. Friday, and if they win the semifinal game, they will play in the state championship game at 5 p.m. Saturday.

The other two teams on their side of the bracket are Southmoore and Owasso. On the other side of the bracket are Edmond North, Broken Arrow, Choctaw and Westmoore.

Just because they have better chemistry and are playing well as a team doesn’t guarantee them a state title. Senior outfielder Hailey Milburn said they have to play mistake-free softball.

“We all have to do our jobs,” Milburn said. “If we go out there and play the way we are capable of playing, I feel like we will win, but we have to play well in every area.”