Despite Norman loss, Millers keep battling

Photo / Terry Groover

NORMAN – Every week Yukon finds itself battling more than just their opponent. Some games they are fighting against themselves as they try to pull out a victory.
Last week, when the Millers traveled to Norman to take on the No 5-ranked Tigers, they had to overcome turnovers and injuries to make it a game.
In the end, they didn’t have enough and fell 61-38.
“Any time any team has adversity, it’s extremely tough sometimes to come back,” Yukon coach Jeremy Reed said. “I will say I was really proud of our fight tonight. I thought we really showed some resiliency. We did some things better tonight than we’ve done in the previous three weeks as a football team. It’s just kind of hard to see that when the score looks the way it does.”
The game could not have started any worse for the Millers. On the second play of the game, they put the ball on the ground, and Norman recovered on Yukon’s side of the field. Tigers’ quarterback Cade Horton then scored to put the Tigers up 7-0.
On the very next possession, YHS fumbled again, and the Tigers recovered. This led to another Horton rushing TD.
Still, in the first quarter, the Millers fumbled for a third time on the next possession. This time Norman’s CJ McClendon recovered the ball in the end zone and the Tigers led 21-0.
It was not the start Reed wanted to see.
“Several things went wrong. I will take full blame for the mishaps in the beginning,” Reed said. “It’s on me. It’s on the head coach.”
However, Yukon didn’t fall apart.
They were able to get their running game going near the end of the first quarter and reached the end zone on a Brayden Dutton quarterback sneak.
The Millers defense stepped up and forced the Tigers to punt on the ensuing possession. And once again Yukon was able to drive down the field and Dutton scored to close the gap to 21-14.
Despite a horrendous start to the night, the Millers only trailed the Tigers 28-17 at halftime.
Yukon’s defense came up with a big stop to start the second half and forced a punt. However, Horton pinned the Millers inside the one-yard line.
Yukon was unable to get a first down and punted the ball back to Norman. They, in turn, drove down the field and scored on a Joe Willie touchdown run.
“That was a tough break,” Reed said of Horton’s punt. “You are down there literally on the inch line. Your quarterback is in the end zone taking the snap. That was just a very tough situation. I sure would have liked to have had that on the 20.”
The Millers had a chance to respond when they got the ball back and drove deep into the Tigers’ territory. But a penalty forced them outside the red zone.
Yukon was unable to get into the end zone and attempted a field goal. However, the kick was off the mark and the Millers left without any points.
Norman came back and scored to put the contest away.
Yukon added a couple of touchdowns and kept fighting on both sides of the ball.
That included recovering two onside kicks.
The deficit was just too much to overcome as they fell to 1-3 and 0-1 in district action.
“We could have easily laid down and quit,” Reed said. “But they did not. That is encouraging moving forward. We have a lot of football left to play. Maybe one of these days we’re going to get healthy too. We are just injury-stricken this year. It’s just the craziest thing ever.”

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