By Hayden Tucker, staff writer
The buzzer sounded Tuesday night at Miller Stadium indicating the end of the season for Yukon freshman football.
The young Millers were vying for a Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference championship, but they fell short when Westmoore scored a late touchdown and converted a two-point conversion with 10 seconds left. The final score was 42-40.
The Jaguars may have stolen the title from them, but they are happy with the steps taken along the way.
“It was such a competitive freshman football game, probably the most competitive freshman game I’ve been a part of,” coach Aaron Dillard said. “To see it come down to the final play, it hurts to be on the wrong side of that but I’m still proud of the way the kids competed.”
It was a back-and-forth affair all night with Westmoore gaining the upper hand.
Yukon took a 40-34 lead with a TD and a two-point conversion and just minutes left in the fourth quarter. It would be too much time given to their opponents.
Winning the conference title was a goal for this group.
“Going back to the summer, we set some goals,” Dillard said. “That was one of our goals. We wanted to compete, we wanted to win the conference championship as freshmen. We knew, and the kids were very aware, that’s something that hasn’t been done here in terms of making the game and winning it.”
Though the Millers couldn’t find a way to win it, they aren’t upset with the way this season was settled.
The freshmen finished with a 7-2 record, their only losses coming from Norman North and Westmoore. What they saw from their team throughout the season gives them optimism for the future of the football program.
“Our whole strategy with freshmen is, we still consider it a developmental team,” said Dillard. “We want to play as many guys as possible but, ultimately, we’re preparing these guys for what they’re going to do as sophomores and juniors and seniors.”
The fruits of their labor may have come to fruition Tuesday night.
Several players stood out on the field that night, but none shined as bright as Makari Slaughter. He found his way in the end zone five times on the night. He showed talent unlike the rest of his freshmen counterparts.
“Tuesday night was the first time he looked like, to me, a high school football player that was playing in a freshman game,” Dillard said.
Slaughter has spent time with the varsity team this season. He’s gone through practices and learned from the veterans on Friday nights.
Dillard expects him to have a big role as a Miller moving forward.
“I think he’s got an incredible ceiling of potential,” he said. “He’s a guy we’re already thinking, next year, is going to be in the fold offensively. We expect him to be a big contributor.”
Other players such as quarterback Brayden Dutton and linebackers Carson Creach and Joe Wythe spent time with the varsity squad as well.
The Millers have discovered strong line talent in this group. They believe that’s an area that will benefit them over the next three years of this budding program.
“What we’re really excited about with this group is that there’s a lot of really good linemen on both sides of the ball,” Dillard said. “It’s a very deep group. We think our long-term potential,whatever we do, is going to be mostly contributed to what those guys in the trenches do for us as sophomores, juniors, and seniors.”