Jeff Cali Sports Editor email@example.com
Ada — A showdown with the No. 3 team in the state with the District 4A-2 crown is the perfect thing to make a team forget about a disappointing loss the week before.
According to Ada head coach Matt Weber, the Cougars’ preparation for the highly anticipated matchup with the Douglass Trojans Friday night has gone well so far.
“Our kids were excited on Monday to practice. We are still having fun daily in practice because of how we practice. Many teams are ready to move on to something else at this point in the season. Not us,” Weber said.
The Ada coach said he takes most of the responsibility for last week’s 33-20 loss at McLoud. He said some of his players were in the wrong place at the wrong time throughout the contest.
Ada gave up over 480 yards of total offense and committed three turnovers. That’s not a formula for success.
“I did a poor job coaching our football team. We need to get better at what we do, and not be confused aligning to so many sets. We will go back to square one, and confusion will not be an issue,” he said.
Last year, the Cougars outlasted Douglass 26-21 to claim the district title. Many believe this year’s heavyweight bout — Ada enters the game ranked No. 8 after falling four spots due to the loss to the Redskins — could be just as entertaining.
“We are in the exact same position we were at this point last season. Last week had no bearing on the (4A-2) title race,” Weber said. “I’m proud of our kids for reeling off seven straight and putting us in this position.”
The most well-known player on the Douglass squad is 6-3, 240-pound playmaker Deondre Clark. He was widely regarded as one of the best defensive linemen in the state last year and now is one of the top tailbacks in Class 4A. Ada will have to contend with Clark on both sides of the ball.
Clark has rushed 99 times for 884 yards and 14 touchdowns and has 13 quarterback sacks.
“He is a nightmare to block and is now their primary ball carrier,” Weber said. “Obviously, a kid of his size playing tailback showcases his skill set. He plays both ways all the time. He is also surrounded by an athletic, well-coached football team.”
Clark isn’t the only dangerous weapon out of the backfield for the Trojans. Brandon Gaddis, the nephew of former Oklahoma standout Mike Gaddis, had gained 759 yards on 96 totes.
Don’t let the two-headed rushing attack fool you. Douglass sophomore quarterback Patrick McKaufman can fling the ball around, too. He has completed 83-of-138 for 1,763 yards and 14 touchdowns.
One key to the Trojans offensive success is having Texas Tech recruit Mildren Montgomery — a 6-5, 270-pound left tackle — blocking up front.
“They have a huge offensive line that blocks well. They are also not scared to test you vertically with the pass game. Their QB throws it well downfield, and will keep us on our toes defensively,” Weber said.
Senior Isiah Shaputis is the team’s leading receiver with 27 catches for 697 yards and seven scores.
Douglass has been getting it done on defense, too. The Trojans have allowed just 110 points through nine games and are giving up just 151.6 yards per game.
“Douglass always puts out a good defense. They crowd the line of scrimmage with their 4-3 scheme. They are comfortable in what they do and are well coached in getting off blocks and making plays,” Weber said.
COUGAR NOTES: Senior lineman Jeromy Barker suffered and ankle sprain and will be a game time decision. ... Junior Tryce Prince has been ruled out for the Douglass contest. ... Junior Osahwv Frazier is the Special Teams Player of the Week and will wear No. 1 against the Trojans instead of his usual No. 15 uniform. ... Depending on how District 4A-1 shakes out, Ada’s first round opponent could end up being an early playoff showdown with Clinton.