In an offensive-era for football, it was Yukon’s defense that stole the show Friday night at Miller Stadium.
The Millers stifled Southmoore in their home-opener with a 28-7 beat down of the SaberCats to improve to 2-1 on the season.
Yukon cornerback Jacob Moore had two interceptions on the night and linebacker Owen Olsen picked off one Southmoore pass of his own.
The Millers’ defense was swarming all night. The SaberCats did not pick up a first down until midway through the second quarter and the only time they were across midfield in the first half was off of a Yukon turnover.
“Our defense is the story of the game tonight,” Yukon coach Jeremy Reed said. “Those guys played really, really well. They were fast, aggressive and they swarmed the ball. I couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”
Offensively, the Millers were solid but not perfect. On their opening drive, they got the ball down the Southmoore 25 but stalled and came up short on a 42-yard field goal attempt.
On its next possession, Yukon answered the bell and drove the ball 31 yards, capped off by a three-yard touchdown run from running back Nollan Koon. Ryan Lucas’ extra-point attempt sailed through the uprights and the Millers led 7-0.
That would be all the scoring in the opening quarter.
To open the second quarter, Yukon’s defense again forced another SaberCat punt attempt. Southmoore muffed the snap and the Millers stopped the SaberCat punter short of the first down marker and took over on downs on the SM 34.
Yukon didn’t waste any time with its next possession. On the first play of the drive, quarterback Perry Olsen found receiver Carvell McKinley for the 34-yard touchdown pass followed by the Lucas’ extra-point putting the Millers on top 14-0.
Both teams traded turnovers over the next several possessions but it was Yukon getting the last laugh of the first half. The Millers went 72 yards in 19 seconds, capped off by a five-yard touchdown scamper from receiver Bryce Williams. The Lucas’ PAT was successful and Yukon went into halftime leading Southmoore 21-0.
The second half didn’t start the way the Millers had envisioned. Yukon got the ball to open the third quarter but then fumbled on its own 42.
The Miller defense stood strong and forced another SaberCat three-and-out but then Yukon’s offense sputtered again on its next possession coming up short on fourth-and-four from its own 42.
Southmoore took advantage of the opportunity and drove 42 yards for its only score of the game to make it 21-7 Yukon.
In the fourth quarter with the outcome still in doubt, Yukon got the ball at its own 34 yard line with 10 minutes and change on the clock and the Millers drove 66 yards, capped off by a Perry Olsen one-yard touchdown keeper. Lucas was again successful on the PAT giving Yukon the 28-7 lead.
“I thought offensively we played well,” Reed said. “We weren’t as sharp in some areas, but we moved the ball well and hit on a couple of big plays.”
The Millers coasted the rest of the way to the 21-point win.
Up next for Yukon will be 7 p.m. Friday at home against Broken Arrow to open district play.
“We are a confident group right now,” Reed said. “We feel like we are prepared for district play. We know Broken Arrow has a good football team and we will go back to work this coming week and prepare to play our best next Friday.”