A big challenge faces the Altus High bulldogs when they travel to Lawton on Friday night to play Lawton MacArthur. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Cameron University.
MacArthur goes into the game with a overall mark of 6-1, there lone loss coming to Del City. The Highlanders are 3-1 in the district and have their sight on a district title.
Altus is fresh off a 77-7 victory over Oklahoma City Southeast. The Bulldogs are 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the district.
It’s an explosive MacArthur offense which defeated Duncan 71-56 last week.
The Highlanders employ a spread offense and use the jet sweep play giving the ball to a wide receiver that is set in motion. They like to throw the ball up field and they have had a lot of success.
“They throw the ball well vertically,” AHS Head Coach Chad Stone said. “They have some real burners. Any of those guys go deep.”
Quarterback Will Collins (6-3, 185, Jr.) favorite target is Gary McKnight (6-0, 185, Sr.).
“We have to have those guys (defensive backs) making sure they are taking care of deep quarters, giving plenty of cushion and things like that,” Stone said. “We’re depending on our linebackers to get underneath, for all the underneath stuff. We have to take away the big play from them. That’s something we have struggled with. We have to tackle in space, we have to play deep with our DBs and not let them behind us.”
Defensively the Highlanders go with a 3-4 look. There best player on defense is nose guard Terrance Grimsley (6-0, 244, Sr.) who has made life miserable for opposing centers. Stone called him the second best nose guard the Buldlogs have seen this year, behind Ivan Thomas of Lawton High. “He gets in a good and low four point stance and fires off low. I counted eight times that he comes off the ball and jacks up the Duncan center and puts him on his back two yards in the backfield.We have to make sure we have two hats on that guy and getting all of the snaps.
The best thing for the Bulldogs is to control the ball on offense and keep the MacArthur offense off the field.
“Exactly, our best defense is going to be a good offense, good ball control offense,” Stone said.
MacArthur comes in the game with aspirations of being the district champion. They have one loss in district play to Del City but if they can run the table against Altus, Oklahoma City Capitol Hill and Ardmore they could be district champions. But it also could create a three way tie between Del City, Ardmore and MacArthur.
Stone said it’s time the Bulldogs to step it up. “I’m ready for our program to take the next step,” Stone said. “I’m ready for kids not wait until something bad happens. I believe we are right there with them, I think we can be right there with anybody that we play on our schedule with the exception of Lawton High. We can’t wait for something bad to happen, We have to make something bad happen for them. If we will do that every game we are going to be in every game, against a quality opponent.”
Bulldog notes: It’s been well documented that sophomore running back Taven Birdow broke the single game rushing record. He rushed for 327 yards on 13 carries against Oklahoma City Southeast. He broke Jason Kornmeyer’s mark of 317 yards against Oklahoma City Western Heights in 2001.
However, that was not the only record broken last week. The 519 yards rushing by the team also broke a record that had been standing since 1995. In that game the Bulldogs rushed for 515 yards against Chickasha.