The last two years have been quite uncharacteristic by Ada Cougar standards, including a rare losing record at 5-6 a season ago.
Former assistant Chris Berus, who has had highly successful stints as head coach at Plainview as well as the past two years at Arkansas power Shiloh Christian has returned to head the Ada program.
“We have a lot of skills kids that I’m confident will be difference makers and others that will become playmakers on both sides of the football but most importantly it’s all about the team,” said Berus after he took over the head coaching reins. “We have high expectations for success and we have kids that are ready to get the job done.”
He definitely has some talent to work with, although a rugged start to the season with losses to Class 5A third-ranked Ardmore (37-14) and top-rated Carl Albert (42-20) has the tradition-rich program off to an 0-2 start, much like Durant.
Senior quarterback Jackson McFarlane returns after posting more than 2,300 yards of total offense while completing 67 percent of his passes a year ago.
Lion fans won’t soon forget his favorite target Kylen Cooper, who is back to full speed after breaking his ankle in the fourth quarter against Durant last season and missing the rest of the year. All he did in that game though was score four times.
Junior running back Adam Anderson, a 210-pound bulldozer, also returns in the backfield following a campaign in which he amassed more than 1,200 yards of total offense.
In the Cougars’ 35-6 win at Norris Field in 2016, McFarlane connected on 22 of 28 passes for 237 yards and four touchdowns, all of which went to Cooper, who totaled 10 grabs for 135 yards.
Anderson also rushed the ball 25 times for 78 yards in the Cougar win.
One thing that has slowed the Ada offensive attack has been the fact they are still breaking in four new starters on the offensive line with A.J. Steele (5-10, 210) being the only starter that returned.
Defensively the Cougars will have a 3-4 alignment and try to avoid the injury bug that virtually wiped out their entire linebacking corps a season ago.
Seniors Christian Maloy (6-3, 205), Zach Martinez (5-9, 185), Grant Bellard (6-0, 185) and Anderson are the bell cows of that unit.
It’s obviously been tough sledding thus far in 2017 with the Cougars facing two extremely athletic unites.
McFarlane has just thrown for 92 yards on 8 of 15 through the air while Cooper has caught just one pass for 24 yards. Anderson has been the club’s biggest offensive threat with 176 yards rushing and one score while averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
The Lions will be trying to prevent Friday becoming Ada’s coming out party this season.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org