Rebuilding a high school football program is a three-step process. The first step is changing the attitude within the program, the second is changing the culture and the third is playing with anger.
When Yukon hired Jeremy Reed in January 2017, he immediately began to work on the first two steps. Those steps can coincide with each other, as attitude has a direct correlation with culture.
Reed made it very clear to his players and his coaching staff that it was time for a change in Miller football, and he accomplished that goal in 2017.
Yukon won four games and came within a yard of making the playoffs in a gut-wrenching loss to Edmond Santa Fe at home.
Even though missing the postseason was a tough pill to swallow, winning twice as many games in his first year as the previous staff had won combined in the last two years was an impressive feat.
Yukon’s four wins came against Norman North, Southmoore, Norman and Edmond Memorial. The victory against Norman North was the most impressive of the season, as the Timberwolves possessed one of the state’s top offenses.
The Millers wouldn’t have been able to win those four games if the attitude and culture hadn’t been changed in the offseason.
Now, it’s time for Yukon to take that third step. It’s time for the Millers to play with some anger.
Growing up in the Jenks-area, I had the opportunity to watch some of the best high school football played in the history of Oklahoma.
Jenks and Union have dominated the state’s largest class on the gridiron for the past two decades and now Owasso and Broken Arrow have closed the gap, but what makes those programs so strong year-in and year-out?
Is it the size of school? Yes, those school districts are massive but Yukon and Mustang are not that far behind in size and the gap isn’t wide enough to where you’d say that is the reason for the difference in success.
Is it the level of talent? This is the biggest fallacy of them all. Yes, there is no question that those four powerhouses in Tulsa have had great players over the years but schools in the Oklahoma City-area also have had tremendous talent. I don’t buy that argument.
Is it how hard they work? No, I have witnessed Yukon and Mustang offseason programs over the past seven years and they work extremely hard just like those four Tulsa-area schools do.
So what is it?
I believe it’s the way they play the game. Jenks and Union play with an edge, they play with anger and now Owasso and Broken Arrow have joined the party.
It’s time for Yukon to do the same.
Now, I am not talking about the type of anger that includes cheap shots, late hits or any type of dirty play. I am referring to the type of anger that is controlled and used in a positive way.
Playing with anger is more than playing hard. For example, playing with anger may allow a linebacker to rip away from a blocker and go make a tackle he otherwise wouldn’t make. Or it might be a running back beats a tackler to the edge and gets around the corner for a 25-yard run instead of a five-yard scamper.
There is no doubt Yukon football is headed in the right direction. They have the right attitude, the culture has changed and they play hard. Now, it’s time to add anger to the mix on game day and take that next step in 6A-1.
The state has been waiting for an Oklahoma City-area team to challenge the big four from the east. Why not Yukon?