When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Miller Stadium in Yukon at 1777 S. Yukon Parkway
Last meeting: Mustang defeated Yukon, 72-36 last year at Bronco Stadium in Mustang. The Broncos racked up 674 total yards, 376 through the air and 298 on the ground, with five rushing and five passing touchdowns. The Millers totaled 402 yards, 295 through the air and 107 on the ground, with one rushing and four passing touchdowns.
Who to watch (Mustang): Quarterback Brayden Garrett (6-1, 170, Jr.) and running back Carlos Thomas (5-10, 185, Jr.) will start their first games in the Bronco backfield. Garrett relieved older brother Chandler in last year’s Bedlam matchup, going 2-for-4 with 35 yards passing while rushing twice for 16 yards. He can spin it, but he will be even more effective in the run-game with Thomas. Watch out for plenty of read-option plays, bubble-screens, short crosses and handoffs up the middle behind a stout and sizable offensive line.
Caden Arthur (6-4, 185, Sr.) and Ping Harris (5-0, 170, Sr.) should be Garrett’s main option in the passing attack. Arthur caught two passes in last year’s game for 23 yards while Harris rushed one time for 34 yards. Harris might be an option in the return-game as well.
Mustang’s defensive line and linebackers will look to stop what could be a stout rushing attack from Yukon. Nebraska-commit Deontre Thomas (6-3, 270, Sr.) will carry the load at defensive tackle while Case Woodard (5-11, 175, Sr.) and Cameron DeHart (6-0, 170, Sr.) make their first starts at inside linebacker. Also, cornerbacks Darion Richards (5-10, 150, Sr.) and Dominik Venegas (6-1, 155, So.) will have to handle a deep, Miller passing attack that finished with over 2,500 yards last year.
Who to watch (Yukon): The Millers return starting quarterback Trevor Smith (6-2, 180, Sr.) who finished with nearly 2,400 with 16 touchdowns in 2015. He went 19-for-33 for 295 yards with four passing scores and a rushing touchdown in Bedlam last season. Graduation took a toll on Yukon at receiver, leaving Jalen Barnes (6-1, 175, Jr.) as Smith’s primary target along with Daunte McGee (6-4, 215, Sr.).
Running back Michael Cooper (5-8, 175, Sr.) could be more of a factor this year after rushing just four times for 16 yards with one catch for 12 yards in last season’s matchup. He ended up rushing for over 600 yards in the final nine games.
McGee moves to outside linebacker as the Millers switch to a 3-4 scheme and should be the team’s best player defensively. He has premier athletic ability and size and could force pressure against Garrett in his first start at quarterback. Also, watch out for Colton Duke (6-2, 210, Sr.) at defensive end.
Prediction: Mustang has won two straight in the series and has made three straight playoff appearances while the Millers have been in rebuild-mode the past two seasons.
Even with a tough hit from graduation, the Broncos will have talent on their side. They may not light up the scoreboard to the tune of 72 points, but they should be able to move the ball against a Yukon defense that allowed 49 points per game in 2015. And it’s hard to see the Millers’ attack phasing a stacked Mustang defense.
The Broncos make it three straight and open the season with a win.
MUSTANG 34, YUKON 17
Trey Hunter is the sports editor at the Mustang News. He has covered Mustang High School sports for three years in an editorial role and has covered Oklahoma high school sports for the last five years. He can be reached by phone at (405) 659-9898 or by email at [email protected]