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OU hits homerun with OC hire

Lincoln Riley

Following the most disappointing season in the Bob Stoops’ era at the University of Oklahoma, OU decided to part ways with longtime receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell and former national championship-winning quarterback and co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel.

Stoops’ decision to let Norvell and Heupel go was not an easy one for the 16-year Oklahoma head football coach, but it was one that needed to be made. It was the first step in a two-step process on the offensive side of the ball that needed to be addressed. The second was finding the right guy to replace Heupel as the play-caller on offense.website commentary new.qxd

It didn’t necessarily need to be a splash hire, but it needed to be someone who was a good fit and would help lead the way in getting the Sooners’ offense back to where it belongs, among the elite of college football.

For more than a week, rumors circled around the state and even the entire college football world on who Stoops was trying to lure into Norman. Names from Texas A&M’s Jake Spavital to Oregon’s Scott Frost were mentioned as possible Heupel replacements at OU, but none of those ever gained any traction.

It’s hard to say how many phone calls and how many offensive coordinators across the nation were poked by Stoops to see if there was any interest in the vacant position, but the guy that Stoops was able to land will be one of the best assistant coaches hired in OU football history, and that’s saying something.

Lincoln Riley from East Carolina was announced last week as Oklahoma’s new offensive coordinator, play-caller and quarterbacks coach. Riley comes from the Mike Leach system of throwing the ball all over the field with tempo, but a running game with the right pieces can be very potent as well in this offense.

There are many reasons to be excited about Riley heading to Norman, but the main one I want to focus on is the offensive talent Oklahoma already has on its roster waiting for their new offensive coordinator to coach them up.

Now I could sit here like every other reporter that covers Oklahoma football and spew out statistics about Riley’s offenses over the years, but I’m not going to do that because numbers don’t always tell the whole story when it comes to offense.

It all starts with the quarterback. Quarterbacks have to be the guys that lead the offense on and off the field. They have to be the ones who step up and make a big play when it counts the most for their team. Each style of offense has a particular style of quarterback it needs to be successful.

For the Riley offense, Baker Mayfield is a perfect fit. Mayfield ran this style of offense in his true freshman season at Texas Tech, and after having to sit out last season, Mayfield will undoubtedly be the guy to run this system for the next several years while he is eligible to play college football.

Mayfield will have a stable of play-makers to distribute the ball to as well next season. The notion that this offense doesn’t fit running backs is purely that, a notion. Reality is that Quentin Griffin ran for nearly 2,000 yards in this offense. With the number of big-time running backs Oklahoma has, getting them the football in a variety of ways in open space will be vital to the Sooners’ success.

Samaje Perine, Joe Mixon, Alex Ross and Keith Ford all have the ability to not only run the ball out of the backfield, but catch the ball and make plays in open space. The Riley offense with the running back firepower OU will possess next season will be scary to watch.

Finally, receivers are a huge part of Riley’s offense. Oklahoma already has an All-American caliber receiver in Sterling Shepard, but the development of Durron Neal, Michiah Quick, Jordan Smallwood and others will be crucial, as well as the addition of junior college transfer Dede Westbrook.

If the Sooners can find several other big time play-makers at receiver other than Shepard, look out for the Oklahoma offense next year. With Riley leading the way, the sky is the limit.

Curtis Haywood II puts No. 1 Mustang over the top

Curtis Haywood II Shooting

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

Last year at this time, Curtis Haywood II was a sophomore at Mustang High School and having to sit on the end of the bench and watch the Broncos varsity basketball team play games without him helping them on the floor.

A year later, Haywood is one of the main pieces to Terry Long’s puzzle, as the Class 6A No.1 ranked Mustang boys are the favorites to bring home gold in March at the 6A state tournament in Tulsa.

Haywood had to sit out of all varsity sports during the 2013-2014 academic school year because he transferred to Mustang High School from Oklahoma City Cassidy High School as his dad, Curtis Haywood, joined Long’s staff as an assistant coach.

Haywood said having to sit there and watch his teammates compete and knowing he couldn’t go out there and help them was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do.

“It was very tough for me,” Haywood said. “Every time we lost I was mad I couldn’t go out there and help them because I knew I could help my team out if I could have played. I wanted to go and help my teammates win because I know they would do the same for me.”

Haywood is making the most of his junior season thus far. The 6-foot-4 combo guard is one of the most talented players, not only on the team but in the state, and is also one of the most highly recruited. He is averaging in double figures in points and is close to that in rebounds.

Long said having Haywood available this season has made a difference for his team.

“He’s put us over the top,” Long said. “He has the ability to beat teams from the outside with his shot and take it to the rim with his athletic ability. He also is a great rebounder and plays really good defense with his length and quickness on the perimeter. He makes us a different basketball team, there’s no question about that.”

There was one benefit to Haywood having to sit out of varsity action last season. He was able to learn about his teammates by watching them play and learn also about the opponents he would be facing a year later.

“I learned a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of not only my teammates but players on other teams,” Haywood said. “I think that was important so I could help my teammates as much as possible and know how to attack other players we go against. Another thing that I learned is that everyone plays a little harder when they play us. We have a target on our back.”

Haywood said he doesn’t try to model his game after anyone, he just plays his game, but he does have role models.

“My dad is my main role model,” Haywood said. “Of course, Lebron (James) and KD (Kevin Durant) are guys I really look up to, but my dad is my main role model.”

Haywood’s father, Curtis, played basketball for U.S. Grant High School and then was a star at Oklahoma City University. He then embarked on a professional career, both in the NBA and overseas, as he played for the Toronto Raptors and for several years overseas before calling it a career.

When it comes to future goals, Haywood said he has big plans for his basketball career and even his career after basketball.

“I want to go to college and play,” Haywood said. “I would love to play in the NBA, but if that doesn’t work out, I want to be a criminologist. That’s something that I have always been interested in.”

Haywood said his personal goals for this basketball season don’t just lie on the basketball court but off the court as well.

“I want to become a better all-around basketball player, but also a better all-around person as well,” Haywood said. “Obviously, we want to win a state championship, that’s our main goal as a team.”

Haywood said this team is special for reasons that go beyond how much talent they have on the roster.

“Our team chemistry is really good,” Haywood said. “We all like hanging out together and doing things together outside of basketball. You have to have that to win a state championship, and we do.”

Chestnut receives Michele Smith Award at star-studded banquet

Jayden Chestnut and Clayton Kershaw

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

Mustang senior Jayden Chestnut was one of five high school softball players across the state of Oklahoma to receive the Michele Smith Award on Jan. 14 during the Warren Spahn Award Gala at the Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma City.

The Michele Smith Award goes out to the top five high school softball players in Oklahoma.

The other four high school softball players to receive the Michele Smith Award were Michelle Brandon from Piedmont, Caleigh Clifton from Wayne, Berkley Faulkner from Duncan and Kristen Prieto from Moore.

Michele Smith was an Olympic gold-medal winning pitcher, who also played softball and pitched for Oklahoma State University. Smith is also a member of the Softball Hall of Fame.

The high school softball coach honored at the event was Newcastle’s Mike Crossley.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw was at the gala to receive the 2014 Warren Spahn Award.

The five top high school baseball players were also honored at the Warren Spahn Award Gala last week with the Ferguson Jenkins Award. Those baseball players honored were Thomas Hughes of Norman North, Keegan Meyn of Yukon, Trevor McCutchin of Owasso, Kyle Tyler of Westmoore and Corey Zangari of Carl Albert.

The high school baseball coach honored was Carl Albert’s Wayne Dozier.

Chestnut was the key piece to the puzzle for the Lady Broncos softball team that captured the 2014 Class 6A state championship last October, sporting a 36-4 record.

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, 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.

Chestnut signed a letter of intent to play softball for the University of Oklahoma this past November and will attend OU this coming fall where she will officially join one of the top college softball programs in the nation.

No. 1 boys survive scare from Norman North

Jakolby Long Dunking

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

The state’s No.1 ranked team in Class 6A got its toughest in-state test last Friday night at home against No.5 Norman North, but Mustang survived the scare with a 72-63 victory to improve to 10-0 on the year.

For the majority of the season, the Broncos have come out of the gate on fire, as they have been able to put their opponents away early and coast for the remainder of the game. However, last Friday Mustang was cold to start the game. The Broncos got their usual wide-open shots from the perimeter, but struggled to knock them down.

“We faced some adversity tonight,” Mustang coach Terry Long said. “I thought we handled it well. I thought our defense was really good when we needed it to be. We didn’t shoot well tonight, but you aren’t going to every night, so the defense needs to be there, and it was.”

Mustang only put up 14 points in the first quarter, but its defense kept them in the game, as Norman North struggled from the field as well, scoring only 15 in the opening frame.

As bad as the first quarter was for both teams offensively, the second period was even worse. Neither team could get anything going on the offensive end. The open shots they did get were clanking off the rim instead of the usual swishing through the net. MHS scored 12 points in the second quarter and the T-Wolves scored 11, putting the halftime score at a 26-26 tie.

Things got a little scary for the No.1  Broncos to start the third quarter, as Norman North came out of the half strong. The Timberwolves took a 12-point lead midway through the third period, which is the largest deficit Mustang has faced all season, but from that point on, it was all MHS.

The Bronco offense woke up and its defense tightened, as they stormed back to take a seven-point lead heading into the fourth and final quarter at 55-48.

Norman North tried to make a run at Mustang in the fourth quarter, but they never got closer than four points, as Mustang went on to keep its unbeaten season alive in the nine-point win.

“I thought we rebounded well as a team tonight,” Long said. “We weren’t making shots, so we got a lot of our points by crashing the offensive glass.”

As far as team statistics go, this was not a highlight game for the Broncos. Mustang was 23-of-39 from the free-throw line and had a season-high 21 turnovers. Norman North was 11-of-16 from the foul stripe and had 24 turnovers.

Junior guard Jakolby Long had a big night for MHS with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Senior guard Terrell Williams finished the game with 13 points and three rebounds, and junior guard Curtis Haywood II had 12 points and five rebounds.

The first game of the week last week wasn’t as difficult for the No.1 ranked team in the state. Mustang took care of business in blowout fashion with a 78-39 road win at Westmoore on Jan. 13.

It was all Mustang in the opening quarter, as the Broncos put 22 points on the board compared to the Jaguars with two. Junior forward Austin Meyer got everybody on their feet with a monstrous two-handed slam dunk early in the first and the rout was on.

“I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to dunk it until I got up in the air,” Meyer said. “Once I was about halfway there, I knew I was going to throw it down.”

The Broncos put up 17 in the second period, while Westmoore added eight to their side of the scoreboard. MHS led 39-10 at the halftime break.

The most competitive quarter of the game was the third frame. Mustang came out somewhat flat after leading by nearly 30 points at halftime and the Jaguars were playing for sheer pride. Mustang scored 19 points in the quarter, while Westmoore put up 16 for a 58-26 score entering the final period of the game.

The Broncos were able to play most of their reserves in the fourth quarter, and they played well, scoring 20 points in the final frame and holding Westmoore to 13 for the 39-point victory.

Mustang finished the night going 7-of-11 from the free-throw line and committing seven turnovers, while Westmoore was 4-of-9 from the foul stripe and had 23 turnovers.

Long was again the leading scorer for the Broncos with 19 points and six rebounds. Haywood finished the night with 14 points and four rebounds, while senior forward Geoffrey Hightower had 10 points and four rebounds.

“We have a lot of guys who can score, so our main focus is our defense,” Jakolby Long said. “We know we are going to put points on the board, so stopping people from scoring is important.”

Mustang was back in action against another top five team in the state on Tuesday night at home against Edmond Memorial. Mustang will travel to Altus today through Saturday, competing in the Shortgrass Invitational.

Lady Broncos drop heart breaker to Norman North

Brandi Russell Driving

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

With a couple of seconds left in the game and down four points, the Lady Broncos needed a miracle if they were going to upset No.10 Norman North on Friday night at home.

Mustang almost got that miracle as they inbounded the ball and dribbled down the floor, and freshman guard Tytianna Mustin launched a 3-pointer that went in the basket. The MHS gym went into an uproar because a Norman North player bumped into Mustin as she was releasing the ball. No foul call was made and the game ended in a 61-60 Lady T-Wolves victory.

If the referees had made the foul call, Mustin would have had the opportunity to go to the free-throw line and tie the game and send it into overtime. Instead, the Bronco girls fell to 3-8 on the year following the deflating loss.

“It’s hard to lose that way, but we can’t just point to that one play and say that’s why we lost,” Mustang coach Kevin Korstjens said. “I’m proud of the way we fought back. We showed a lot of resiliency in the game.”

Norman North started the game off strong and Mustang started slow in the first quarter. The Lady Broncos managed just six points in the opening frame, while the Lady Timberwolves had 15.

Mustang picked it up in the second quarter but couldn’t gain much ground, as they scored just one more point in the second period than Norman North did. MHS had 11 points in the frame and NNHS had 10, giving the T-Wolves an eight-point lead going into halftime.

To open the third quarter, the Mustang girls clawed back and cut the NN lead to just four points, but a late third period run by Norman North put the Timberwolves back on top by 13 points at 50-37.

The Lady Broncos started making their run early in the fourth quarter and had several chances to take the lead on Norman North, but couldn’t get over the hump.

Mustang was without starting forward Sarah Kellogg, who was out with an illness. Kellogg is the team’s leading rebounder and does a lot of the dirty work in the paint area, so losing her didn’t make the Lady Broncos’ job any easier trying to pull off the upset.

Mustang was 15-of-28 from the free-throw line and had 24 turnovers, while Norman North was 15-of-22 from the foul stripe and had 25 turnovers.

In Kellogg’s absence, sophomore forward Abbie Niehues got the start and she made most of her opportunity, as she led the team with 15 points and nine rebounds on the night. Junior guard Addy Lawson had 12 points and two rebounds, while Mustin finished with 11 points and four rebounds.

In their earlier game last week, the Mustang girls traveled to Westmoore for a matchup with another top 10 team. The Lady Jaguars took it to the Lady Broncos in an 85-53 victory.

The Bronco girls were able to keep it somewhat close in the first half, as they trailed by just 12 points going into the halftime break, but the second half was all Westmoore. The Jags outscored MHS 42-22 in the second half for the 32-point win.

Mustang finished the game going 6-of-13 from the free-throw line and committing 18 turnovers, while Westmoore was 13-of-15 from the foul stripe and committed 18 turnovers.

Sophomore forward Logan Haller had 12 points and seven rebounds in the game. Kellogg finished with eight points and three rebounds and Lawson finished with eight points and one rebound.

Mustang was back in action at home on Tuesday night against Edmond Memorial and they are traveling to Deer Creek today through Saturday to compete in the Bruce Grey Invitational.

Wrestling team places two at conference tournament

Zach Butler One

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

Mustang had two grapplers place in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend at Southmoore High School.

Senior 182-pounder Zach Butler and senior 195-pounder Kaden Truelove were lone placers in the two-day event. Butler took second place in his weight class, while Truelove grabbed fourth place.

On Jan. 15, the Mustang wrestlers traveled to Putnam City North to take on the Panthers in a district dual. The Broncos won the dual by a score of 49-21, winning 10 of the 14 matches. Mustang won six of those 10 matches with pins, while the Broncos were pinned three times by PC North.

“I thought we came out tonight and took care of business,” Mustang coach Will Allen said. “Putnam City North is traditionally a strong team, so I’m proud of the guys for the way they came in and performed. We need to keep improving and getting stronger as we head into the stretch run of our season.”

In the 106-pound weight class, Mustang’s Joe Lupton defeated his opponent by a score of 7-2 in three rounds. In the 113-pound weight division, the Broncos’ Jason Clark won by a forfeit, and in the 120-pound weight bout, MHS’ Kerry McNeal defeated the PC North 120-pounder in a third-round pin.

In the 126-pound weight match, MHS’ Corbin Hardin fell to his opponent 8-3 in three rounds on the mat. In the 132-pound weight battle, Mustang’s Trey Edwards crushed his competitor from Putnam City North 18-1, as he went on to win by a technical pin. In the 138-pound weight class, the Broncos’ Colton Franks pinned his Panther opponent in the second round.

In the 145-pound weight division, the Broncos’ Gage McBride defeated his PC North counterpart with a second-round pin. In the 152-pound weight class, MHS’ Wyatt Riggs was pinned in the first round by the 152-pounder from Putnam City North, and in the 160-pound weight bout, Mustang’s Fazon Denby came back to defeat his opponent 3-2 in a tough three-round battle.

In the 170-pound weight class, Mustang’s Ryan Dickson was pinned in the second round by his opponent. In the 182-pound weight match, MHS’ Zach Butler defeated his PCN counterpart 10-4 in three rounds, and in the 195-pound weight clash, the Broncos’ Kaden Truelove was pinned in the second round by the 195-pounder from Putnam City North.

In the 220-pound weight division, MHS’ Austin Brown pinned his Panther opponent in the first round, and in the 285-pound weight class, Mustang’s Trey Cossey got the first pin of his young career in the second round of his bout with the heavyweight from Putnam City North.

The first dual of the week last week didn’t go quite as well for the Mustang wrestling team. The Broncos hosted rival Yukon on Jan. 13, with the Millers winning the dual by a score of 58-12.

Mustang will be back in action at 1 p.m. today in the District Duals at Southmoore High School, and then Friday and Saturday, the Broncos are competing in the Owasso Dual Tournament.

Swim teams compete at conference meet

Swimming Five

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

The Mustang swim teams competed in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference on Jan. 15 in Edmond.

The girls squad took sixth place overall out of 11 teams, and the boys team captured ninth overall out of 12 teams.

In the girls meet, Edmond North took first place, with Norman North taking the top spot on the boys side of the pool.

Here are the individual results from the event:

In the girls 200-yard medley relay, Mustang took seventh place with a time of 2:10.83. Brandi Naeher, Mazie Garza, Lauren Oliver and Samantha Jones made up the team.

In the boys 200-yard medley relay, the Broncos grabbed seventh place with a time of 1:56.51. Drake Stowe, Minh Nguyen, Chandler McDonald and Zach McSwain made up the squad for MHS.

In the girls 200-yard freestyle race, Hannah Kertzner took 15th with a time of 2:18.87, Ryhan Deuel grabbed 18th with a time of 2:29.07, Gabby Rhodes finished in 25th place with a time of 2:57.52 and Alexandra Cox took 26th place with a time of 2:59.09.

In the boys 200-yard freestyle event, Matt Sellon took 14th with a time of 2:05.66, Lane Brown took 21st with a time of 2:20.63, Max Mayfield finished in 24th with a time of 2:31.16 and Zachary Boyanton placed 25th with a time of 2:31.91.

In the girls 200-yard individual medley, Victoria Cox took 25th with a time of 3:24.89, Zoe Mills captured 26th with a time of 3:30.34 and Cassidy Trail placed 29th with a time of 3:45.04.

In the boys 200-yard individual medley, Minh Nguyen placed 12th with a time of 2:19.63, Cullen Quinn finished 18th with a time of 2:37.29 and Colton Cooper placed 21st with a time of 3:01.13.

In the girls 50-yard freestyle race, Samantha Jones grabbed fourth with a time of 26.54, Brandi Naeher placed 26th with a time of 31.19, Hope Eirwin placed 27th with a time of 31.52 and Morgan Shirk took 28th with a time of 32.10.

In the boys 50-yard freestyle race, Zach McSwain placed 26th with a time of 26.50, Robert Coulter took 30th with a time of 26.95 and Christian Langdon took 41st with a time of 33.09.

In the girls 100-yard butterfly, Lauren Oliver placed sixth with a time of 1:05.17 and Summer Chrismon took 16th with a time of 1:15.47.

In the boys 100-yard butterfly stroke, Matt Sellon grabbed 13th overall with a time of 1:02.49, Chandler McDonald placed 17th with a time of 1:06.89 and Zackary Boyanton placed 20th with a time of 1:13.10.

In the girls 100-yard freestyle, Samantha Jones placed eighth with a time of 1:01.09, Mazie Garza placed 16th with a time of 1:05.93, Rachel Snodgrass took 26th with a time of 1:13.98 and Katrina Bearce placed 29th with a time of 1:14.64.

In the boys 100-yard freestyle, Robert Coulter placed 21st with a time of 59.73, Tucker Legg took 22nd with a time of 59.77, Jacob Hesser placed 26th with a time of 1:01.56 and Christian Langdon took 40th with a time of 1:08.14.

In the girls 500-yard freestyle, Hannah Kertzner took 14th with a time 6:13.89, Ryhan Deuel grabbed 16th with a time of 6:43.09, Rachel Snodgrass captured 22nd place with a time of 7:45.44 and Emma Downing placed 23rd with a time of 8:27.02.

In the boys 500-yard freestyle race, Drake Stowe took 15th place with a time of 6:23.30 and Max Mayfield grabbed 16th with a time of 7:16.41.

In the girls 200-yard freestyle relay, Mustang grabbed fourth place with a time of 1:53.77. Lauren Oliver, Summer Chrismon, Hannah Kertzner and Samantha Jones made up the team.

In the boys 200-yard freestyle relay, the Broncos took seventh place with a time of 1:44.64. Matt Sellon, Tucker Legg, Robert Coulter and Chandler McDonald made up the squad.

In the girls 100-yard backstroke, Brandi Naeher placed 23rd with a time of 1:19.55 and Gabby Rhodes took 26th with a time of 1:27.05.

In the boys 100-yard backstroke, Minh Nguyen placed 10th with a time of 103.70, Drake Stowe placed 13th with a time of 1:08.09, Tucker Legg grabbed 17th with a time of 1:10.97 and Jacob Hesser finished in 19th place with a time 1:13.47.

In the girls 100-yard breaststroke, Lauren Oliver took seventh place with a time of 1:17.34, Mazie Garza grabbed 14th place with a time of 1:24.66, Emma Downing placed 24th with a time of 1:33.15 and Morgan Shirk placed 29th with a time of 1:37.72.

In the boys 100-yard breaststroke, Zach McSwain placed 16th with a time of 1:14.52, Chandler McDonald took 17th with a time of 1:17.14, Cullen Quinn placed 18th with a time of 1:17.44 and Victor Castaneda took 22nd with a time of 1:22.58.

In the girls 400-yard freestyle relay, the Lady Broncos placed seventh with a time of 4:29.61. Mazie Garza, Ryhan Deuel, Summer Chrismon and Hannah Kertzner made up the team.

In the boys 400-yard freestyle relay race, the Broncos took 10th place with a time of 3:52.96. Drake Stowe, Robert Coulter, Minh Nguyen and Matt Sellon made up the squad.

Want to win? Get a quarterback

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There is an old saying in football that if you can run the football and stop the other team from running the ball, you have a great chance to win the game.

Now, that theory still holds true. If you let a team run all over you, it will make for a long day on the gridiron, and if you can run the ball on offense, you improve your chances of winning even more.

However, football in the modern era has changed completely and the position of quarterback is more important than it ever has been in the game’s history.

Simply put, if you have a championship-level quarterback, your chances of competing for and winning a championship sky-rocket.

Am I talking about an all-star quarterback? No. Just because a quarterback can put up numbers doesn’t mean they are championship level. Can an all-star quarterback be a championship-level QB? Absolutely, it’s not just a requirement.

This applies to every level of football, not just the college or professional levels.

For example, look right here in Mustang. Would the Broncos have been the team they were in the fall of 2014 without Chandler Garrett under center? Absolutely not. The Broncos would have been a good team, but a semifinal team? I doubt it.Chandler Garrett For Front Page

Another example, look at the Oklahoma Sooners. The 2014 season was supposed to be a special one for Bob Stoops and his Sooners. They were favorites to contend for a national title last year, but instead, it turned out to be one of the most disappointing in program history.

There is no doubt that Oklahoma had many issues across the board this season, but the most glaring problem with the Sooners in 2014 was at the quarterback position. Trevor Knight was supposed to be a Heisman contending style of quarterback following his superman performance against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, but he turned out to be an average player at best.OU FOOTBALL (Knight) 3

Another prime example for what having a game-changer at quarterback can do for a football team is the Oklahoma State Cowboys. For the majority of the season, OSU went with Daxx Garman under center after J.W. Walsh was injured for the season early in the year. Garman had some bright spots throughout the year, but for the most part, he struggled in the Cowboys’ offense.

Garman was dinged up late in the season, forcing Mike Gundy to pull the redshirt off Mason Rudolph. Rudolph had a good game at Baylor and then shocked the nation by taking the ‘Pokes into Norman and stunning the Sooners in Bedlam. Rudolph then led OSU into the Cactus Bowl and upset Washington to give Oklahoma State a winning record at 7-6.

The Rudolph effect to end the season not only turned what was a disappointing year into a solid season, but gives the Cowboys a lot of momentum heading into the offseason. It also very well could have kept Mike Gundy in Stillwater. Many people believed the beleaguered Oklahoma State coach was going to leave, but after the way the season ended, he decided to stay in Stilly.

On the professional level, when it comes to all-star quarterbacks who aren’t championship-level, you have to first go with Tony Romo. The longtime Cowboys signal caller is one of the most talented QBs in all of football, but his lack of ability to make plays when his team needs it the most has defined his career.

On the other hand, you look at a guy like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. Wilson is an absolute winner. He doesn’t have near the talent Romo has, but he has the championship-level ability to make a play in a clutch situation that will put his team over the top in a close game.

There are a lot of talented football players and football teams out there at the high school, collegiate and professional levels, but if recent history has taught us anything at all about the game of football, if you don’t have the quarterback, you aren’t going anywhere.

Chestnut earns Michele Smith Award

Jayden Chestnut Three

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

Mustang senior Jayden Chestnut was one of the five recipients of the Michele Smith Award that goes to the five top high school softball players in Oklahoma.

Chestnut and the four other recipients of the Michele Smith Award were honored at the Warren Spahn Award Banquet on Wednesday night at the Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame Museum in Oklahoma City.

The other four recipients of the award were Michele Brandon from Piedmont, Caleigh Clifton from Wayne, Berkley Faulkner from Duncan and Kristen Prieto from Moore.

The softball coach being honored was Mike Crossley of Newcastle.

“It means a lot to be one of the five softball recipients of the Michele Smith Award,” Chestnut said. “Only five girls get this award, so it’s an honor to get to be a part of this event.”

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is the Warren Spahn Award winner for 2014 and was honored at the banquet on Wednesday night.

The top five high school baseball players were also honored at the Warren Spahn Award Banquet with the Ferguson Jenkins Award. The five baseball players that were honored were Thomas Hughes of Norman North, Keegan Meyn of Yukon, Trevor McCutchin of Owasso, Kyle Tyler of Westmoore and Corey Zangari of Carl Albert.

The baseball coach being honored was Wayne Dozier of Carl Albert.

Michele Smith was an Olympic gold-medal winning pitcher, who also played softball and pitched for Oklahoma State University. Smith is also a member of the Softball Hall of Fame.

No. 1 Mustang stays unbeaten with Shrine tournament title

Team Photo

By Sports editor, Kyle Salomon

Mustang boys basketball coach Terry Long chose to play in the Muskogee Shrine Classic so he could give his team a chance to play several east-side powers.

Not only did Long’s Broncos play east-side opponents, they made a resounding statement across the state that they are indeed the team to beat in Class 6A.

Mustang showed why it is ranked No.1 in Class 6A with three impressive wins in the week-long tournament, as the Broncos went on to capture the Shrine Classic Championship.

Mustang defeated Tahlequah in round one of the event on Jan. 5 at the Muskogee Civic Center by a score of 106-40. MHS returned to Muskogee on Friday night for its semifinal game against Class 5A’s No.1 team, Tulsa Memorial. Mustang took care of the Chargers 73-63.All-Tournament Players

In the championship game of the Shrine Tournament, the Broncos went up against Jenks. MHS showed the Trojans who was the boss early and often, as they went on to capture the Shrine Classic title with an 80-48 beat-down of Jenks.

“I thought we played pretty well,” Long said. “We wanted to come and play some of the best teams over here on the east side, and we did that. We played pretty well on the defensive side of the court, but we can still get better in that area.”

In their game against Tulsa Memorial, the Broncos started off on fire from the perimeter and their full-court press defense was giving the Chargers fits. It looked like the Broncos were going to run Memorial out of the gym. MHS led 20-8 after one quarter.

The second quarter was a different story. The Chargers began throwing the ball inside to their 6-foot-8 forward, A.J. Cockrell, who gave Mustang fits all night long. Tulsa Memorial outscored the Broncos 17-9 in the frame to cut the lead to 29-25 heading into halftime.

MHS responded in the third quarter by coming out of the gate the same way they did to start the game. Memorial continued to struggle with the Broncos’ full-court press and turned the ball over numerous times, allowing Mustang to outscore the Chargers 26-16 in the period. MHS led 55-41 going into the final quarter.

Tulsa Memorial made a sharp run at the Broncos in the fourth quarter, as they cut the lead to just six points with a little less than half the frame to play, but Mustang responded and held the Chargers off, going on to win by the 10-point difference.

Mustang committed nine turnovers in the game, and made 5-of-8 free throws, while Memorial had 15 turnovers and made 2-of-4 from the foul stripe.

Senior guard Aubrey Johnson was on fire from beyond the arc for MHS, leading with 27 points and three rebounds on the night.

Junior guard Jakolby Long had a solid night himself, going for 23 points and three rebounds in the contest, and junior guard Curtis Haywood II finished with 15 points and five rebounds for the Broncos.

In the title game against Jenks, Mustang seized control of the game right from the get-go. The Trojans had trouble matching up with the Broncos’ length and athleticism. MHS outscored Jenks 18-7 in the first quarter.

The second period was much of the same, as Mustang continued to pour it on the Trojans. The Broncos scored 25 points compared to Jenks with 12, taking a 43-19 lead into the halftime break.

Neither team came out with a lot of intensity in the third quarter. Both offenses struggled to put points on the board. It was the only period that Jenks outscored MHS in the game. The Trojans put 11 points on the board, with Mustang only posting nine points.

The Broncos woke back up in the fourth quarter, as they scored 28 points in the final frame compared to 18 by Jenks to seal the 32-point difference for MHS.

Mustang finished the game with 11 turnovers and was 9-of-12 from the line, while the Trojans had 15 turnovers and made 14-of-18 free throws.

Johnson was the story again for the Broncos with 23 points and three rebounds in the game. Haywood had 17 points and five rebounds on the night. Long had 10 points and five rebounds, and junior forward Austin Meyer totaled nine points and 13 rebounds.

“Tulsa Memorial and Jenks are good basketball teams,” Long said. “We knew we would have to play well to come over here and beat those teams, and we did that. We are playing well right now, but we still have a lot of areas we can be better.”

Johnson, Long and Meyer were all named to the Muskogee Shrine Classic All-tournament Team following their title win over Jenks.

Johnson talked about what it feels like to be shooting as well as he did from 3-point range following the championship game.

“It just feels natural,” Johnson said. “Everything felt good leaving my hand this week. I was in a good rhythm.”

In the middle of the Muskogee Shrine Classic, Mustang had some district business to take care of, as they hosted Edmond North on Jan. 6.

The Broncos made mincemeat of the Huskies with a 97-54 drubbing. MHS outscored ENHS in every quarter, including a 31-8 difference in the third period.

Mustang forced Edmond North into 22 turnovers and 7-of-11 from the free-throw line, while the Broncos had seven turnovers and were 17-of-24 from the stripe.

Haywood had 18 points and three rebounds for MHS. Meyer finished with 14 points and three rebounds, and senior guard Terrell Williams totaled 12 points and four rebounds.

The Class 6A No.1 Broncos were back in action at Westmoore on Tuesday night and they play host to Norman North at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Mustang High School gym.