The last five weeks of football have been rough on the Knights but there is a whole new season starting Friday.
touchdownThat’s when the first game of district play gets underway. Henryetta travels to Haskell in the first of five game series to determine the winner of 2A-5.
“This is the part of the season that counts,” said coach Darin Johnson. “We were in the same situation last year. We started slow and didn’t get a lot of breaks going our way. We pulled it together and came together as a team.”
Henryetta is still looking for the first win and will be facing some injury issues.
Sidelined off and on this year is Avery Moore who injured a hamstring early on. He has only played two games this year. Johnson said Moore has been to a specialist this past week but it is still questionable if he will play. In Moore’s two games, he rushed for 149 yards in 26 carries.
Out for the season is Austen Macaluso who sustained damage to his ACL and meniscus two weeks ago.
Other injuries have affected Kobe Johnson, Jarret Day, Wes Thomas and Jeremiah Boyles. After the Muldrow game last week, Johnson had to receive medical attention when he developed breathing issues. He said he fell on the ball bruising some ribs.
Talking about the Friday game, Johnson said the Haymakers will be putting some big personnel on both the offensive and defensive line. “They have two linebackers who are talented. They do a good job of reading the offense.”
To counter that, he said the Knights are going to try and make them run from sideline to sideline. “We will be trying to make them chase us and wear them down. They are like us in that they have a bunch of kids going both ways. They will be out there for most of the snaps just like our kids.”
He said it has been tough for Henryetta after losing some experience to graduation last year. “We lost seniors who played major roles in offense and defense.”
This will be the time that Johnson says some of the younger players will be getting to see some action. “Most of our team plays both ways but we will rotating some in on offense to try and get some depth there to help out. We hope the younger kids can fill some shoes.”
Those underclass players usually get their experience in the junior varsity games the year before. “Last year we couldn’t play as may JV games and that hurts the program.” Monday, the junior high and JV game with Eufaula was cancelled due to the loss of long-time teacher and coach Brent Wion.
Looking ahead to the rest of the district series, the HHS coach picked Vian as the top contender for the title. “There is something in the water there because they reload every year. They are big and physical and can run the ball.”
He projected Okemah’s Panthers could be in second place leaving Haskell, Holdenville and Wewoka doing battle for the third place spot.