By TERRY GROOVER
A drive that took the final seven minutes off the clock also guaranteed the Yukon Millers’ first win of the season Friday.
The Millers knocked off the Edmond North Huskies 21-13 in the season-opener.
Edmond had taken over the ball at its 37 yard line with 11:18 left in the game.
Throughout the first half, the Huskies had been able to pass at will. However, facing a third and long, the Huskies’ senior quarterback, John Barnes, dropped back looking for a home run.
Instead, Yukon’s Colin Grulkey, a senior defensive back, stepped in front of the ball to snag an interception at the seven yard line.
From there, the Millers methodically worked their way down the field taking full advantage of the team’s flexbone offense.
“That’s what we want to be built for is the ability to control the ball game when we want to. We have a lot of big-play ability this year, and it is nice to know you have the ability to also chew up that clock and help your defense out. The best defense is when your offense is on the field,” coach Jeremy Reed said.
North took advantage of Yukon’s young secondary in the first half, throwing into the center of the field throughout the half. They got on the board first through the air on a long pass with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. However, the Huskies’ point-after-try missed.
Yukon responded on the ground, chewing up the clock.
However, it was a pass that put the Millers on the clock with 8:48 left in the first half, when sophomore quarterback Brayden Dutton hit Colton DeKinder over the middle for a 15-yard score.
Dutton only completed 1-of-4 passes on the night, but it was all that was needed.
“We wanted to throw the ball a little more, but didn’t feel like they were doing some things to completely take advantage. We will continue to look for those opportunities,” Reed said.
North regained the lead on a 51-yard pass play with 3:48 left in the half.
Yukon responded, moving the ball 81 yards to take a 14-13 lead just before halftime.
While the Yukon’s secondary had issues in the first half, the second half was a different story.
North had been able to hit its receivers in stride throughout the first half. Reed said the Millers made some halftime adjustments, and they paid off.
“In the first half, we weren’t necessarily doing things we were coached to do. … In the second half, the kids started playing better and with more discipline. That’s why we saw the big difference,” he said.
Reed said he is looking forward to seeing how the team adjusts this week, as they prepare for their rivalry game against Mustang.
“You know how the first games are going to go, and this went pretty consistent with my thoughts,” he said.
Yukon did not turn the ball over during Friday’s game, though they did put it on the ground once. Yukon’s defense also came up with one interception.
The Millers finished the game with 11 penalties for 85 yards. Reed said that is one area he would like to see some improvement on.
“Overall, I found way more positives in the game than negatives,” he said. “The biggest growth area usually is between the first game of the season and the second.”
In all, the Millers finished the opening game with 400 yards on the ground, led by Landon Donoho, who had 14 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Cameron Farmer had 95 yards on 17 carries. He also scored for Yukon.