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The Lady Broncos softball team improved to 8-2 overall this season with a 3-0 record last week.
“I thought we played well last week,” Mustang head coach Bryan Howard said. “We probably gave up too many runs early in the game to Muskogee, but I like the way we battled back. BA is always one of the better teams in the state, so I am really pleased with that win.”
Against Norman, the Bronco girls and Lady Tigers were scoreless through the first five and a half innings until Mustang broke it open in the bottom of the sixth by scoring all six runs.
Senior right-hander Jayden Chestnut was in the circle against Norman and went the distance in the contest. Chestnut took a no-hitter into the top of the seventh when NHS got its only base knock of the game.
The hard-throwing senior finished the night with seven strikeouts and one walk allowed.
The Lady Broncos finished the game with seven total hits. Mustang finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning when freshman third baseman Karis Clark drove in two runs with a single to center field.
Senior shortstop Caisey Jones was up to bat next and put a ball in play, forcing Norman into an error and scoring two more runs.
Freshman outfielder Katelyn Thomas then drove the fifth run with a single of her own. The sixth and final run of the inning was knocked in by freshman second baseman Zoe Jones.
Chestnut held the Lady Tigers in the top half of the inning, securing the victory for the Lady Broncos.
Mustang played Muskogee in the first game of the Southmoore Softball Festival on Friday afternoon and took down the Roughers 7-6.
Freshman pitcher Kylie Dodson returned to the circle after being sidelined with a foot injury for several games.
Dodson was rusty in the first couple of innings back as Muskogee put several runs on the board against the young right-hander.
Dodson settled down and kept the Lady Roughers from breaking the game open, which allowed Mustang to come back and get the one-run victory. Chestnut came into the game in the last inning to close it out for MHS.
In their second and final game of the Southmoore Festival, the Lady Broncos took on Broken Arrow, which year-in and year-out is one of the top softball teams in Oklahoma.
Chestnut was back in the circle for the Bronco girls against the Lady Tigers and she was dominant as she shut out BA 2-0.
Mustang returned to action this week with three games on the schedule.
The Lady Broncos hosted Lawton Ike on Monday evening. They travel to Moore for a 6:30 district showdown tonight, and tomorrow host Edmond North at 6:30 p.m. for an important district matchup.
“We are getting more used to playing in big games every week,” Howard said. “It seems like every week we have one or more big games, so it’s important we continue to get better and grow as a team.”
Tougher competition spelled trouble for the Mustang volleyball team in week two of the season as they dropped four matches.
The Lady Broncos had a record of 3-4 in the second week of the year, but kept their overall winning record intact with a 7-5 mark through their first 12 matches of 2014.
Mustang hosted PC North on Aug. 19, defeating the Lady Panthers three games to none. Their second dual of the week wasn’t as kind to MHS as they took on defending Class 6A state champion Edmond Santa Fe and fell to the Lady T-Wolves three games to none for their second loss of the season.
“I didn’t think our attitude as a team was where it needed to be going into the weekend,” Mustang head coach Cailtyn Bernhardt said. “We were pretty down on ourselves heading into the Westmoore tournament after what happened against Edmond Santa Fe. We carried that into the match against Bishop McGuinness and it felt like we were already defeated before it began.”
The Lady Broncos then traveled south to Westmoore High School to compete in the Jaguar Volleyball Invitational last Friday and Saturday.
Mustang played five matches in the tournament, winning two and losing three. The Bronco girls defeated Del City 3-0 and Carl Albert 3-0 in the event, but fell to Bishop McGuinness 0-3, Westmoore 2-3 and Enid 1-3 in the tournament.
The closest match of the weekend was against Westmoore. The Lady Broncos held a two games to one lead against the Lady Jaguars, but Mustang made too many mistakes down the stretch in the final two games and dropped a nail-biter.
“We were really upset that we lost the match to Westmoore,” Bernhardt said. “Our girls really felt like that we should have beaten them, but the cool thing about it is, we get another chance at them Monday night. After that loss, the team decided that was enough, and our attitudes changed.”
Mustang is back in action this week as host to two district duals at the Wellness Center at Mustang High School.
The Bronco girls hosted Westmoore on Monday evening and they take on Edmond North at 6 tonight.
“We still have a lot of season left,” Bernhardt said. “We are still growing as a team, so there are going to be rough times and good times. We just have to stay together.”
College football is officially back, and the Oklahoma Sooners open up the 2014 season at 6 p.m. on Saturday at home against Louisiana Tech.
The Sooners are entering the new season with a preseason national ranking of No.3, which if OU can stay in the top four by the time the regular season is complete, will earn them a spot in the first-ever four-team college football playoff.
Despite returning a lot from the team that went 11-2 a year ago and defeated SEC beast Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, OU still has some new faces on this year’s squad that will determine how good this team can be.
“It’s been one of our best camps we’ve had since I’ve been here,” OU head coach Bob Stoops told reporters at his weekly press conference. “This is probably the healthiest we have ever been coming out of camp. We didn’t have many guys missing practices, which allowed us to build more depth, because guys were able to get more work. Really very pleased with everything to this point.”
Last season, the OU offense averaged 32.8 points per game, while the Sooner defense allowed 22.1 points per contest. Oklahoma averaged 423 total yards of offense every time they took the field in 2013, and the D gave up 350.2 total yards per game.
OU was run-heavy a year ago as they averaged 223.9 rush yards per game while allowing 137.6 rush yards to their opponents. Through the air, Oklahoma was mediocre, averaging 199.1 pass yards per contest and giving up 212.5 pass yards per outing.
Some of the top returners to the team in 2014 will include sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight, sophomore running back Keith Ford, junior receiver Sterling Shepard, junior receiver Durron Neal, senior offensive linemen Daryl Williams, Tyrus Thompson, Adam Shead, Dionte Savage and Tyler Evans.
Junior offensive linemen Nila Kasitati and Ty Darlington are also returning for the Sooners this fall.
Senior Blake Bell, who spent the first four years on campus for OU as a quarterback, will switch positions and play the tight end role in 2014 for Oklahoma.
Knight comes into 2014 after having a rocky 2013. The sophomore had a passing efficiency rating of 125. He completed 79 passes out of 134 attempts a year ago with nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He averaged 102.4 yards per game through the air.
Knight also presents a threat on the ground for OU. He ran the ball 67 times last season and gained a total of 485 yards and had two touchdowns on the ground.
Ford is the leading returning rusher for the Sooners in 2014 after OU graduated Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch in 2013. Ford had a total of 23 carries for 134 yards and one touchdown last season for the Sooners.
Sophomore Alex Ross will share time with Ford in the backfield. The Jenks native had three carries in 2013 for 19 total yards.
Oklahoma will be talented but raw at the receiver position to start the 2014 season. The Sooners graduated Jalen Saunders, LaColtan Bester and Jaz Reynolds from last year’s group.
Shepard will lead the way for OU this fall. Shepard caught 51 passes for 603 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore. Neal had 13 receptions for 176 yards and sophomores Derrick Woods and Austin Bennett each had two catches in 2013.
At tight end, OU will go with Bell as the starter, having never caught a pass in a real game before, and sophomore Taylor McNamara will back up Bell. McNamara caught one ball last season for a total of 4 yards.
The most experienced group on the offensive side of the ball this season will be the offensive line. OU lost two players to graduation in 2013, Mustang native Bronson Irwin and Gabe Ikard, but will have five seniors leading the way.
Defensively, Oklahoma will return defensive tackles, junior Jordan Phillips, sophomore Jordan Wade and seniors Torrea Peterson and Quincy Russell.
At defensive end, OU returns junior Charles Tapper and senior Chuka Ndulue. Senior Geneo Grissom played at the DE position a year ago for the Sooners, but moved to linebacker this season.
Grissom will be joined by junior Eric Striker and sophomores Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans as returners this year.
In the back end, senior safety Quentin Hayes will return as the lone starter for the Sooners. Sophomores Ahmad Thomas and Hatari Byrd saw some action last season, but will still be young in 2014.
Senior Julian Wilson will make the switch from nickelback to cornerback this season opposite sophomore Zach Sanchez, who is a returning starter in 2014.
Special teams will also play a big role in the success or lack of success Oklahoma has this year. Both kickers are returning to Norman this fall. Seniors Michael Hunnicutt and Jed Barnett will handle those duties.
Hunnicutt is the returning place-kicker and Barnett is the returning punter for OU in 2014.
Football today has turned into a fast-paced, high-scoring sport that features star quarterbacks, flashy receivers and speedy running backs.
The sport is no longer a sport where big, power running backs and fullbacks are leading the way for offenses. The wishbone formation is a dinosaur and most high school football players these days weren’t even born when the option was the main offensive system across the nation.
However, there is one constant that remains in football and that is a team will only go as far as its offensive and defensive lines take them.
There is an old saying in football and that is, “It doesn’t matter who you have in the backfield running or throwing the football, if you can’t block anyone they aren’t going anywhere.”
That is a true statement. A football team could have Adrian Peterson in the backfield or Peyton Manning as their quarterback, but it wouldn’t matter if the offensive line didn’t do its job and give Peterson holes to run through or give enough time for Manning to find his open receiver.
No one knows that more at Mustang High School than senior offensive lineman Larry King. King is going into his senior year and is considered the leader of the offensive line that graduated four out of the five starters from last year’s group.
King has been assigned the responsibility to not only open holes for the Mustang running backs to run through, but to protect Broncos star quarterback Chandler Garrett.
King said even though this group is new, they have a lot of ability and a lot of heart.
“We have a little saying where we call each other the core,” he said. “It’s kind of our way of reminding each other what our job is and what we are supposed to do. It also serves as a motivator for us. We worked hard this past summer in the weight room and on our conditioning. We aren’t going to be the biggest line, but we are going to be sound in our technique and be an athletic line.”
The only returning starter from last year’s offensive line is Coty Harper. King suffered an injury last year at the beginning of fall camp and he dealt with the injury all year. Mustang offensive coordinator Kyle Williams said if King hadn’t suffered the injury, he would be a returning starter for the Broncos.
“We consider Larry a veteran and experienced player,” he said. “He has been in the system for over a year now and he is a senior this year. The team looks to him as the leader on the offensive line.”
Even though Yukon is only one game in a 10-game regular season, King said he can’t wait for Sept. 5 to roll around so they can take on the Millers.
“We are going to be ready for that game,” he said. “They came down here and beat us on our home field last season, and we want to do the same to them this year. We know it is a long year, but we are wanting to get off to a good start this season.”
In high school football, it is common for players to move around from position to position, but for Mustang senior Zach Davis, it has been a whirlwind since his sophomore year.
As a sophomore Davis was a backup running back for the Broncos as well as a reserve outside linebacker on the defensive side of the ball for MHS. As a junior last year, Davis was moved outside under the new coaching staff as a starting cornerback. Davis lined up several plays on offense for MHS, but the majority of his duties fell on the defensive side of the ball.
Davis has put on about 30 to 40 pounds of muscle since his sophomore days at Mustang High School, so maybe that could account for the different positions the senior has seen in his tenure.
Last season, Davis excelled at the cornerback position as he used his size and strength to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, throwing the timing of the opposing offenses off in many ways. Davis is a very physical football player. He said he enjoys coming up to the line of scrimmage and making a big hit on an opposing offensive player, so the safety position is the perfect location on the field for Davis.
At the safety position, Davis will still have coverage responsibilities as he will be the back end of the defense, but he will have many more opportunities to come up to the line of scrimmage and stop the opposing run games with big hits.
Fellow senior Emilio Daugherty will be the other safety for the Broncos defense this year, and they will both be expected to lead the way as senior starters on the defense.
“As the senior leaders of the defense, Emilio and I have to be vocal and make sure that the cornerbacks, linebackers and defensive linemen know what they are doing,” Davis said. “We are looking forward to the responsibility we are going to have on the defense this year. I think we have a chance to be a really good defense if we continue to work hard and progress the way we need to.”
Davis’s rare ability to be able to come up and stop the run like a linebacker, but turn around and play coverage like a cornerback is very similar to that of Pittsburgh Steelers future Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu.
Polamalu hits like a linebacker and covers like a cornerback, which is exactly what Davis does on the field for Mustang.
When it comes to expecting a lot from himself, Davis takes a backseat to no one. He will call it as he sees it at any time.
“I think the start of fall practice went really well,” Davis said. “We had high intensity and we were focused, but we got a little sloppy after that. We didn’t have as much intensity and we lost focus a little bit. Overall, I feel pretty good about how fall practice went.”
Going into the 2013 season, one thing Mustang football had never been known for was its defense.
The Bronco football program had always been known for its high-octane offenses that lit up the scoreboard like a Christmas tree. The biggest problem Mustang had with all of those powerful offenses was its lack of defense.
Many times during the mid-2000s, the Broncos would have to rely on their offense to win shootouts, and several games came down simply to who had the ball last.
With the departure of Ty Prestidge and entrance of Jeremy Dombek, that mentality changed 180 degrees. Prestidge brought Mark Yates to Mustang with him as the defensive coordinator. Dombek constantly refers to Yates as “the best high school defensive coordinator in the state of Oklahoma.”
Based on what Yates did with the Bronco defense in 2013 after having a short period of time to work with the players, it’s hard to argue with Dombek.
Yates brought in the 3-4 scheme on defense, changing the Broncos from what they used to run under the old regime, which was the 4-3. Yates said he believes the 3-4 is the best defensive scheme to play in today’s game because it allows you to do more things as a defense and it’s the best way to slow down the spread offense.
The Mustang defense was by no means perfect last year under its new defensive coordinator, but they were a much improved unit from what they had been in the past. Yates said having a full year to work with his players is making a big difference at this point.
“The knowledge base of our guys is really high compared to what it was a year ago,” he said. “We aren’t necessarily adding anything to our defense because the scheme will stay the same, but we are able to do a lot more as far as coverages and pressures go.”
Yates said they lost some senior leadership off last year’s defense, but he is excited about the returners he has coming back this season, and likes quite a few of the young and upcoming players on the defensive side of the football.
“In the back end at the safety position, we have seniors Zach Davis and Emilio Daugherty,” he said. “We are going to be counting on both of those guys to have big years for us this season. Juniors Kiante Miles and Jordan Greenspan will man the cornerback positions this year and they both started quite a few games a year ago.”
Yates said the linebackers will be a lot faster this year than they were last year with senior Cutter Smith and junior Cole Daniel leading the way in the middle of the defense. He said the defensive line was going to be young but full of potential as they head into the 2014 season.
Yates commented on the players’ summer work ethic and the expectations from the coaching staff.
“I think the one difference we are seeing this season compared to last year is the players know what we as coaches expect out of them every day they come to work,” he said. “They understand the expectation of this program now, so it’s easier for them to come in and do what they need to do in order to give themselves the best chance at being successful.”
Mustang High School has its fair share of athletes who are entering this school year with high expectations, but maybe none more than senior receiver David Parker.
Now, if some of you out there are scratching your heads trying to figure out who Justin Blackmon is, let me refresh your memory.
Blackmon was the All-American wide receiver at Oklahoma State University several years ago and is now playing in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blackmon was one of the key reasons the Cowboys were able to get out of the Big 12 Conference cellar and win their first conference crown in school history in 2011.
So, for Dombek to say that about Parker is pretty high praise for the MHS senior. To some athletes, that kind of compliment would make them wilt away and never be seen again, but for Parker, he said he welcomes the comparison.
“That means a lot for Coach Dombek to say that about me,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for Justin Blackmon and I look up to him as a player. He is a great player. I hope I can have the same type of impact on the field for my team this year as he has had for his teams.”
Parker stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs around 185 pounds. He has the athletic ability of a panther. Parker can jump through the air to snag the football like a great white shark flying out of the sea to eat his or her dinner. He can also flat-out run by his defender at any given moment. Parker is the prototype wide receiver in football today.
In order for Parker to achieve his personal goals as a player, he knows the team goals will have to be accomplished.
“For the team, I just want us to go undefeated and win the state championship,” he said. “I know we have the talent to do that. We just have to go out there and do it. We have been working hard all offseason and in the summer. I’m not really worried about personal goals because I know as a senior for the team to be successful I have to go out and play well.”
There has been a lot of talk surrounding high school football in Class 6A in this state. This will be the first year there will be two 6A classes. 6A-1 will comprise the 16 largest schools in Oklahoma and 6A-2 will be the next 16.
With the new class and new districts, Mustang will have to play a tougher overall schedule than it has in the past. Now, instead of playing Putnam City West and Choctaw in the district, they have to play Tulsa Union and Owasso.
Parker said he is looking forward to the new challenge.
“We have to bring it every week,” he said. “We can’t take any nights off. We have to come out and play well in order to have a chance to win every week. I think we are going to handle it well. I’m looking forward to the new schedule.”
When it comes to offensive football in the state of Oklahoma, Mustang has been one of the top high schools year-in and year-out since the early 2000s.
Ty Prestidge was a big part of that success as he was either the offensive coordinator or the head coach throughout those glory days for MHS football.
Prestidge resigned from his head coaching duties with the Broncos in May of 2013, leaving the Mustang football program in a pool full of question marks.
In came Jeremy Dombek shortly following the Prestidge resignation, and a new era of Bronco football was under way. Dombek kept some of the old regime on his coaching staff, but he also brought in some new blood.
One of those new faces he brought into the fold here at Mustang was offensive coordinator Kyle Williams. Given the short summer and abrupt nature of moving from one school to another, Williams said he wasn’t able to put everything into the offensive system he would have usually done in a normal amount of offseason time.
Even with the shortened preparation period, the Bronco offense was still one of the most feared in the state. Veteran players like Frankie Edwards, Colton Hadlock and Tristan Hill made sure the Mustang attack was still potent in 2013.
With help from younger and upcoming players like Chandler Garrett, David Parker, Chase Brown, Dylan Duran, Jakolby Long and Preston Ochoa, Edwards, Hadlock and Hill were able to mesh with their new offensive coordinator and help the Broncos to a quarterfinal playoff appearance.
This year, the feeling around the Mustang offense heading into the new season is completely different. With returning players like Garrett, Parker, Brown, Duran, Long and Ochoa, combined with new players like Blake Williams, Bryce Roberts and Larry King, the Broncos will once again be one of the top offenses in the state of Oklahoma.
“Having a full offseason to really put everything into the offense that we want to put in makes a big difference at this point in the year,” Williams said. “Our guys now know what to expect, but they are football-smart individuals. They pick up on things very quickly. We are excited about the guys we have coming back, and some of the young guys we have coming up will help us this year as well.”
One of the areas on offense the Broncos will have to make sure and rebuild is the offensive line. Mustang graduated four of the five starters on the offensive line from last year’s group, including Hill, who is now playing at the Division I collegiate level.
The one offensive lineman returning for MHS is Coty Harper. Williams said losing that many offensive line starters is a concern, but he is confident in this year’s group.
“We have some young guys who have been in the system now for more than a year,” he said. “They know what to expect. They have shown some really good things throughout the spring, summer and in fall practice so far.”
The area that Williams said he is most pleased with is the wide receiver position.
“We have a great combination of older, experienced guys and young guys at receiver for us,” he said. “We have a lot of depth there and that is a good thing with how we want to play. We are looking for some good things out of that group this season.”
Being a leader can be one of the most daunting tasks asked of someone, but for Mustang junior quarterback Chandler Garrett, it comes naturally.
It seems everywhere the 6-foot-5 star QB goes, he has his own version of the “paparazzi” following close behind. If you go up to Mustang High School during school hours and want to find Garrett, you should try to find the biggest crowd because that’s where he will be.
Garrett doesn’t ask for it, nor does he even like it, but being the quarterback of a school the size of Mustang, he better get used to it.
“It’s not something I really think about, honestly,” he said. “I am just focused on going out on the field and helping my team be successful on Friday nights. That’s my main concern every day right now.”
The junior gunslinger isn’t just a quarterback at Mustang High School. He is one of the top-recruited 2016 football prospects in the state of Oklahoma. It’s easy to understand why when you look at him and what he can accomplish on the football field.
Garrett took over the starting quarterback job midway through the year last season for the Broncos as a sophomore when the MHS coaching staff decided to move three-year starting quarterback and senior captain Frankie Edwards to running back in order to help the team be as successful as possible.
“The experience I gained last year is going to help me a lot this season,” he said. “I know what to expect now. I have played in some big games, so that won’t have any effect on me at all. I am looking forward to the challenges we are going to face this coming year and overcoming them as a team.”
The move benefited both players as Edwards is now playing college football for Oklahoma Baptist University as a running back and Garrett improved drastically as the season went along last year after he took over under center and even turning himself into a national prospect.
The move also was successful for the team, which for the Mustang coaching staff, was the ultimate reason for the decision. The Broncos made a quarterfinal playoff run with Edwards and Garrett both in the backfield for MHS.
In sports, comparisons are often made between athletes, whether it be two athletes who are competing in the same era on different levels, athletes who are in the same era and on the same level or athletes who are competing in different eras.
On the high school level, Garrett has the ability to run the ball with power like Blake Bell did for Oklahoma before he transitioned to tight end this season. However, Garrett has more speed than Bell running from the QB position.
Garrett also has the ability to throw the ball with velocity and touch similar to Sam Bradford did when he played for Putnam City North, OU and now the St. Louis Rams. Garrett’s pocket presence is also impeccable. He has the ability to get his teammates’ attention similar to what Tom Brady can do for the New England Patriots.
Ultimately, my comparison to Garrett is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, because of his enormous size, rare ability to escape the pocket under duress and make plays when his team needs him the most.
Yes, Garrett will have an enormous amount of pressure on him this season as the leader of the team combined with being a play-maker on offense, but considering the size of his shoulders, Mustang is in good hands with Garrett carrying the load.
“I don’t look at it as having more pressure on me this year,” he said. “I am a lot more comfortable at this time this year than I was last year at this point. I understand the offense more this year and am very comfortable with all of the coaches. I look at it as having less pressure because I’m more comfortable.”
When Mustang’s football team takes the field for the season opener Sept. 5 at Yukon, the Broncos will have a different level of confidence than they did a year ago.
Jeremy Dombek was entering his first season as the head man for Mustang, and it had been a whirlwind of a summer since he was hired in late May 2013.
Dombek brought in a state championship caliber coaching staff around him, but with only a few months before the season started, the new staff had to approach the summer a little differently than they normally would.
“It was definitely an adjustment period for everyone,” Dombek said. “It was harder on the players than the coaches because they had to learn a whole new system. We did some things similar to the previous staff, but the guys had to get used to how we liked things done.”
The struggle was apparent in the first several weeks of the regular season, as the Broncos struggled on both sides of the ball. The hardships included a disappointing opening-game loss at home to bitter-rival Yukon.
However, several weeks into the season, Mustang started to find its groove for the remainder of the regular season and came together to make a quarterfinal playoff run that ended at home in the hands of Broken Arrow in below freezing temperatures and icy conditions.
The sub-par weather conditions heavily favored the Tigers in that game as Broken Arrow was primarily a running team while the Broncos liked to air the ball out quite a bit.
Going into the 2014 season, Mustang is coming off one of the best offseasons in program history. Following the quarterfinal playoff run, the Broncos won the state championship in powerlifting during the winter months and then made a strong impact on the MHS track squad in the spring.
Mustang football players went through summer pride workouts that trumped any summer they had experienced before.
“I thought we had a tremendous summer,” Dombek said. “The guys worked really hard, and we had great numbers throughout the summer. You can definitely see the confidence level in everyone is a lot higher than it was a year ago. Not just from the players but from the coaches as well. We are a confident program right now.”
Dombek said he expects to see improvement in every facet of the game in his team this season.
“I thought the transition was a little easier offensively last year. This year, I expect the defense to see a lot of improvement. I think we have some more depth this year overall as well. Our sophomore class is pretty talented, but they still have yet to see varsity action, so the jury is still out.”
With the formation of the new 6A this season, Mustang finds itself with a schedule that will be one of the toughest in the state. In essence, the Broncos drop Choctaw and Putnam City West off their schedule (two teams that MHS should beat), and add Tulsa Union and Owasso (two teams who contend for the state title annually).
“It’s definitely going to present a unique challenge,” Dombek said. “I get asked that by a lot of people, but my answer is always the same. I don’t know how it’s going to affect us or anybody else for that matter. I know it will give us some pretty darn good football games every week.”