By BOB CRAMER
If Mustang’s spread offense is to “Play PHAST,” success must begin with physicality in the trenches so the Broncos can throw blocks to free their fast receivers and running backs and protect the quarterback.
Mustang returns three starters on the offensive line.
The unit’s strength begins on the left side with seniors Cade Williamson (6-foot-5, 260 pounds) at tackle and Conner Leeper (6-1, 310) at guard.
Junior Micah Davis (6-5, 310 pounds) lines up at right tackle.
“It’s fiercely competitive with nine players competing for the five positions,” Bronco head coach Lee Blankenship said. “The depth chart is changing every day, and the players are really responding. The competition is making them better.”
Particularly important is Williamson, who protects 6-6 senior quarterback Hayden Conrad’s blind side when he passes.
“Hayden trusts him very much so,” said offensive coordinator Cody McDaniel, who also coaches the O-line, explaining Williamson is very technical in how he approaches his position.
“Cade isn’t the biggest or fastest player and relies on a game of angles. He knows what his opponent is going to do by studying film. He knows how to create leverage with his body and hands.”
Williamson is proud of the challenging job he does in neutralizing pass rushers and keeping Mustang’s quarterbacks off the turf.
“I think the quarterbacks trust me a lot,” Williamson said. “I’m fast on my feet. When I hit a guy, he usually doesn’t get around me and is on the ground.”
Williamson also has become a leader for the offensive linemen.
“He’s a great senior leader for us up front,” McDaniel said. “When Cade speaks, the linemen usually listen.”
McDaniel’s coaching influence – he was a college center — is impacting the offensive line, Williamson said.
“Coach McDaniel is very knowledgeable about football and very energetic,” Williamson said. “It definitely rubs off on us. It has lit a fire under us. It makes us want to prove ourselves.”
The sizable Leeper views himself more as a cerebral player: “I like to think I’m a mental player. I’m not always going to be the biggest guy, so I have to use my technique, and I study film.”
McDaniel said six other players are in the o-line mix: juniors Brock Harris (6-3, 230) and Wyatt King (6-1, 260) and sophomore Maximus Godwin (6-4, 260) at right guard, senior Ethan Bunch (6-1, 275) and junior Tommy Tucker (6-2, 260) at center and senior Brevan Russell (6-5, 220), who can play either tackle.
Like many of his teammates, Leeper already is thinking about playing Yukon in two weeks.
“It’s a fun thing to be a part of,” said Leeper, who thinks adrenalin will be pumping for the rivalry. “We’ll have to dial it down after that first or second play.”
Mustang and Yukon will collide in the Sept. 6 opener. A huge crowed is expected for the 7 p.m. kickoff at Bronco Stadium.
Mustang has scheduled two preseason scrimmages. The Broncos visit Bixby on Friday. The junior varsity plays at 6 p.m. and varsity at 7:30.
The Broncos will scrimmage at Midwest City’s Carl Albert on Aug. 29.
The JV plays at 5 p.m. and varsity at 8 p.m. at Gary Rose Stadium-Jim Harris Field, which is undergoing renovations to the west (home) side.
Mustang fans should take 29th Street to Post Road, then go north and turn west at the middle school. Admission is $5 or laundry soap.
Mustang has selected four seniors as team captains. They are safeties Liam Krivanek and Joseph Sylvester, middle linebacker Judson Rowland and wideout Chris Doran.
TICKETS ON SALE
The next two Wednesdays – Aug. 28 and Sept. 4 — general admission tickets ($7) for the Mustang-Yukon football game will be sold from noon to 6 p.m. at My Tee Designs (265-3838), 721 S Mustang Road in Yukon.