The 10th-ranked Ada Cougars have a BIG game with tradition-rich Tuttle Friday night in more ways that one.
Kickoff for that contest is set for 7:30 p.m. at Bill Hinkle Field.
The outcome of the game will have huge implications on what currently looks like a four-way race to the District 4A-2 crown among the Cougars, Tigers, No. 4 Blanchard and No. 8 Bethany. Coincidentally, Blanchard and Bethany also tangle Friday night.
Ada is 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the district. Tuttle is 3-3 and 2-1, Blanchard is 6-0 and 3-0 and Bethany is 5-1 and 2-1.
“We’re going to know a lot about our district after Friday night. It’s what makes Oklahoma football special in October — playing games like this,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus. “It’s going to be a great environment.”
The other big thing about Friday’s matchup in Tuttle is the Tigers’ massive offensive line. They’re really big, anchored by senior Oklahoma State commit Hunter Anthony, who is listed at 6-7, 325 but, according to some folks, looks even bigger than that in person.
Other Tuttle offensive linemen include Ian Johnson (6-0, 210), Brandon Miller (5-11, 230), Sam Hood (6-1, 305), Kellen Riley (5-10, 230) and Trey Mason (5-10, 290).
“They are phenomenal up front. Those guys work in unison so well. They all have great footwork and do everything really well. That’s where it begins for them offensively, in that interior,” Berus said.
Junior Carson Berryhill is the starting quarterback for the Tigers. In a tough 36-27 loss to Plainview earlier this season, Berryhill connected on 10 consecutive passes during one hot stretch in the second half and finished with 234 yards through the air. He also had a 14-yard touchdown run in that game.
“Their quarterback has shown great ball placement. You can tell he likes to throw on the run. They haven’t shown they want to run him much, but he will,” Berus said.
The Tigers have two talented senior running backs in J.D. Eddy and Ethan Glass. They both stood out in Tuttle’s 55-27 win over Newcastle. The Tigers averaged 8.2 yards per rush attempt in that contest. Eddy rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries. Glass added 112 yards and two touchdowns.
Glass gets most of the workload for Tuttle, but not by much.
“He’s a very patient runner. He runs behind those offensive linemen with a lot of patience. When he hits a seam, he hits it well. He’s a home run threat for them,” Berus said. “They’re just really sound offensively.”
Berus said the Tigers like to make things hard for opposing running backs on defense.
“Defensively, their interior linemen and inside ‘backers are the staple of their defense. They’re very physical, and people have a hard time running the ball inside against those guys,” he said.
Tuttle’s other two losses came at the hands of Class 3A No. 5 Kingfisher (27-21) and Blanchard (23-14). The Tigers have scored a combined 143 points.
“You don’t let the record fool you,” Berus said.
“They’re a team that’s young and playing some new guys at some key positions,” he continued. “They stubbed their toe against some quality opponents. You look at who they lost to — Kingfisher, Plainview and Blanchard. All three of those teams are probably going to make deep runs in their respective playoff brackets. And they competed well against all of them. They were in every single one of those football games.”
Ada and Tuttle have met just three times, and the Tigers own a 2-1 edge.
Ada quarterback Jackson McFarlane had a big night during the Cougars’ 47-19 triumph over Tecumseh last week on Homecoming Night at Norris Field. He finished with 315 combined yards and had six total touchdowns in the game.
Berus said while Jackson’s numbers were impressive, the entire offensive unit played like a well-oiled machine for the most part.
“You have to throw touchdown passes to guys and the guys up front were blocking really well to open up seams for him. It was a great offensive performance all the way around,” he said.
After Tecumseh had engineered a long scoring drive in the first period to trim Ada’s lead to 7-6, the Cougars drove all the way down to the THS 1-yard line but failed to score, thanks to an ill-timed penalty and a lost fumble. But they regrouped in a hurry.
“There was that tension moment ... but our guys settled in and played really good defense the rest of the ballgame and offensively hit their stride pretty quick and put a lot of points on the board,” Berus said.
The first-year Ada head coach said it was nice for his team to play well before the Homecoming crowd.
“It was a fun night to be a part. When you play in front of alums and those guys that have walked the same shoes that our current kids are walking in ... and former teachers and former band members and Couganns and cheerleaders — you always want to perform well in front of those guys,” Berus said.
Ada is at home next Thursday against Tulsa Central for fall break. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. inside Koi Ishto Stadium.
The Cougars play at No. 4 Blanchard on Oct. 27 and finish the regular season Nov. 3 against Harrah at Norris Field.
Berus on the streak
The top-ranked Wagoner Bulldogs won their 43rd straight football game last Friday, breaking the 21-year record of 42 set by the Ada Cougars.
“Congratulations to them. Coach (Dale) Condict does a fantastic job. Obviously, that community loves football,” Berus said.
Wagoner was the last team Berus faced during his previous stint as an assistant on the Ada coaching staff.
Junior Tanner Gilliam and senior Jefferson McDonald returned to practice this week after weeks on the injured list. Their status for this week’s matchup with Tuttle is up in the air.
“I don’t know how big their role is going to be Friday night. We’re figuring out what their limitations are. Shape will be an issue. But I’m excited for those kids,” Berus said. “To see them back on the practice field was really, really fun.”