Sep. 7—Old rivals Ada and McAlester are set to do battle in a Week 2 showdown Friday night at Norris Field.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Both teams enter the contest with identical 2-0 records. Both teams like to run the football. Both teams had turned in a pair of solid defensive performances. Both will utilize multiple quarterbacks. Both teams try and get physical up front.
"There are a lot of similarities. We have the same kind of philosophy with the kids that they have and the kids that we have. With both ballclubs being 2-0 and the rivalry and the physicality part of it, it's set up to be a really good matchup Friday night if you're a football fan," Ada head coach Brad O'Steen told the Ada News.
"It's kind of going to boil down to a physicality war."
McAlester started the season with a 23-13 road win over Broken Bow and a narrow 17-13 home win over Prescott, Arkansas. Ada escaped Durant with a 14-7 win to open the season before rolling past Ardmore 41-0 last week inside Koi Ishto Stadium.
The Buffaloes are ranked No. 3 in Class 5A and the Cougars landed in the No. 10 spot in this week's Associated Press Oklahoma High School Football Poll. McAlester has won the past two meetings en route to a pair of runner-up finishes in Class 5A. The teams didn't meet in 2020 and Ada defeated the Buffaloes 42-26 in 2019. Ada has dominated the all-time series, leading 62-33-1.
O'Steen said even though McAlester hasn't shown the high-octane offense it had possessed in the previous two seasons, the Buffaloes are still plenty good on that side of the football.
"Offensively, they haven't been producing the points they have been, but they're still a good football team. They're a run team first. They have big strong kids that come off the ball and are very physical," he said.
McAlester will insert seniors Kaden Lesnau and Lance Stone in at quarterback. Both have been effective so far. Senior tailback Ethan Watkins has been the focal point of the MHS offense. He scored twice and churned up 184 yards last week against Prescott. So far this season, McAlester has already rushed for 437 yards, while also passing for 176 more yards.
The McAlester defense kept the Prescott offense in check during their Week 1 contest. The Buffs held the Curley Wolves to just 26 yards of offense in the first half and just 69 rushing yards overall.
"Defensively, they're running the same defense they've been running and they've done a really good job with that. Their front guys are really physical. Their defense is strong," O'Steen said.
Linebackers Will Spears and Fyfer Mitchell have led the charge, combining for 49 tackles in two games. They're followed by the likes of Malachi Wrice, Owen Russell, Drayton Pouncil and Jayden Shumway — all with double-digit tackles in the first two games.
Not 2, not 3 but ...
The Cougars used four different players at quarterback against Ardmore in Week 1. Fisher Marr, Kolten Carlock, Lakievin Richardson and Brock Boyles all took snaps for the Cougars.
"We thought it was a good time to get those guys some plays under their belt. and we were trying to keep Ardmore off balance. That gives us a lot of different looks," O'Steen said.
Richardson and Marr both scored rushing touchdowns, Boyles threw a touchdown pass and Carlock rushed for 43 yards on five carries.
Xander Rhynes and Caron Richardson led an Ada rushing attack with a combined 155 yards in an AHS offense that produced 261 total yards on the ground. Nine players had carries for the Cougars.
"We have multiple weapons and we try not to let (defenses) key on just one guy. We use a lot of different packages," O'Steen explained. "We want to try to be really multiple. and we have some athletes that can run the football."
O'Steen said that success started up front.
"The offensive line was where we really shined on that side of the ball. We got a lot better overall. We're still not executing at the level we need to be at but we showed good improvement," he said.
Not only did the Ada defensive complete a shutout, but Ardmore managed just 107 total yards.
"We played really, really well against Durant and to shut somebody out at this level is big-time," O'Steen said. "It was an Ardmore team that wasn't quite as talented as they have been in the past but still to go out and beat somebody 41-0 was a good effort. We played a lot of guys and got a lot of kids playing time."
Cougar Notes: Ada junior running back Chauncy Conway will again be sidelined with an injury ... The Ada High School boys basketball team and girls' golf team will be co-hosting a "Grill the Buffaloes" cookout before the game. The real buffalo burgers will be served from 5 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. in the Koi Ishto Stadium parking lot. Tickets are $10 each and are available from any boys' basketball or girls' golf booster club member and can also be purchased the night of the game.