The Ada High football team hopes to clean up its act when it makes the long trek to Idabel Friday night for a Week 2 matchup with the Warriors.
Things like cutting out turnovers, improving in the kicking game and making better tackles are on the top of the list of things that needed cleaning the most according to Ada head coach Matt Weber.
The Cougars, who dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 in this week’s Associated Press Class 4A football rankings, committed four turnovers in a season-opening 36-21 home loss to Ardmore (No. 8 in 5A).
Ada’s mistakes were eyesores to the Ada coaching staff when watching the film Saturday morning.
“It was the same thing everybody saw and what kept us from being able to win that game — turnovers,” Weber said when asked what stood out during the film session. “When you turn it over four times, you’re not going to beat anybody.”
Inconsistency in the kicking game and missed tackles didn’t help the outcome of the football game either.
“Those are the three biggest things as to why Ardmore won that game and why we lost that game,” Weber said.
After all the costly mistakes against the Tigers, the Cougars can expect to devote even more practice time to protecting the football than had already been set aside.
“Things like holding on to the ball and taking care of the football are things we spend inordinate amounts of time on,” Weber said. “All I know is obviously it’s not enough because we still did it, so we have to go back and put more time in our practice schedule doing that and emphasize it more.”
The Ada coach said he did like the fact that his players appeared to be eager to fix all the things that appeared broken during the loss to Ardmore.
“The bright spot was we had 100 percent attendance at our film session the next morning. We have a bunch of kids of high character. That’s how men handle things. When they have a little adversity, they don’t go hide in the corner, they face it head on and our kids faced it head on,” he explained. “They saw the mistakes they made and have to fix and we’re going to be a good football team because of that.”
Idabel must have a few things to work on, too. The Warriors dropped a 41-7 decision to Broken Bow, ranked No. 9 in Class 4A, in Week 1.
Weber said he knows better than to expect a cake walk, despite Idabel’s Week 1 showing.
“When you see them on film, they’re loaded with really good athletes. They’re really similar to Ardmore, but their kids are actually bigger,” he said. “They have a lot of kids that can run. To think that we’re going to go down there and it’s going to be anything but a football game, people are kidding themselves.”
Idabel had 15 returning starters, most of which are sophomores and juniors.
Junior quarterback Boochie Threatt is the playmaker for Idabel. He can run. He can throw. And he can run some more.
“What makes him scary is just when you think he’s going to take off, he gets to the line of scrimmage and he’ll throw a rope to one of his receivers,” he said. “Sometimes their best plays are when a play breaks down. A couple of times last week, they would snap it over (Threatt’s) head and he’d go get it and make 30 yards.”
The Broken Bow score can be deceiving, too. Thanks to bad snaps and exchanges between Threatt and his center — along with a few other mistakes — four of the Savages’ touchdown drives were less than 29 yards. The Warriors will try sophomore Bailey Easwtep (6-0, 260) at center this week.
Weber said his players are glad to be playing against a team that doesn’t run the option.
“It’s nice to finally play a more conventional offense now. We’ve seen three option teams starting out and ... it’s almost like a new experience in practice now, preparing for an I (formation) team or a spread team,” he said.
Weber said he’s more interested in seeing if his Cougars can clean up their act this week than what the Warriors will throw at them.
“We’re working on what they do scheme wise, but we’re way more concerned with ourselves at this point — trying to improve the basic fundamentals of football — than we are who we’re fixing to play,” he said.
Long road ahead
The map says Idabel is about 148 to 151 miles away. Weber expects the bus ride to take 2:30 to 2:45 hours.
“We’re going to stop at least once and let our kids walk around,” he said.
Before dropping to Class 4A, Ada made many more long trips to 5A opponents.
“About three years ago, it seemed like we were doing it about every other week,” Weber said. “It’s going to be a long road trip, but that’s something we can’t use as an excuse. We’re going to have to get down there and get ourselves ready to play.”
Although he wasn’t in the starting lineup, it didn’t take long for sophomore running back Shiloh Windsor to make his presence felt against Ardmore last week. He finished the game with 22 carries for 143 yards, including a beautiful 79-yard TD romp.
“We’re going to feed him the ball. We knew what kind of talent he was. He’s unbelievable in the weight room,” Weber said. “On the run he broke, there wasn’t anybody that was going to catch him. You could probably throw him out on the track right now and he could break 11 seconds flat in the 100 Meters.”
Windsor did have a fumble lost blotch on his Game 1 resumé.
“I actually thought he was going to score on the play. He should have had it in his outside arm, but he was giving great effort. He just had it in the wrong arm and that’s where the defense was and they just raked it out,” Weber said. “He just needs to continue to work and keep improving. He’s still a sophomore and does some sophomore things.”
COUGAR NOTES: Idabel has never defeated Ada in 12 tries ... Ada senior backup lineman Mark Morgenthaler suffered an elbow injury against Ardmore, and is expected to be out two to three weeks. ... Ada kicker Todd Penick (No. 43) will be wearing the No. 1 jersey against Idabel after being selected the Special Teams Player of the Week.