By BOB CRAMER
Mustang’s football team will face another explosive rusher when it travels to Tulsa for a District 6A-1 encounter against the Union Redskins.
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. Friday at Union-Tuttle Stadium, and Mustang’s defense will be most aware of running back AJ Green’s presence.
“Green is a great player. He’s strong and fast,” Mustang head coach Lee Blankenship said of the junior, who also plays cornerback. “He’s one of the best we’ll face this season.
“They are a multiple offense and very similar to us in scheme. Their quarterback (J.D. Geneva) is a good player and has some excellent wide receivers to throw it to.
“Kyler Pearson is a very fast and explosive slot receiver. He is committed to the University of Kansas.”
Coach Kirk Fridrich’s Redskins have played a tough schedule and are 1-3 after losing their district opener last week 34-10 to the unbeaten Owasso Rams.
Owasso’s defense shut down Green and Union’s ground game, limiting the Redskins to 95 rushing yards and one touchdown, Avante Wilkin’s 13-yard run.
On Sept. 13, the Redskins exploded in the second half to derail Jenks, 35-20, as Green rushed 12 times for 159 yards — including scoring runs of 62 and 58 yards.
“They are one of the top teams in Oklahoma,” Blankenship said. “Their record is not even close to a representation of how good they are. Their early-season schedule has been brutal.”
On Aug. 30, Union lost at Mansfield Lake Ridge, Texas (47-44), and on Sept. 6 fell to Broken Arrow (14-0).
Union utilizes a 3-4 defensive scheme and will jump into a 4-2-5 look, Blankenship said, and both of its lines are big.
Perhaps the Redskins’ biggest defensive hit of the season came against Jenks at the 2-yard line with Union leading 21-20 in the third quarter.
Redskin senior linebacker Jacob Rogers put a lick on Jenks running back Kobey Rogers and separated him from the football, which was knocked into the backfield.
Senior cornerback JoJo Nichols scooped the fumble up and returned it 91 yards for a TD as Union rallied from a 20-7 deficit.
Blankenship said this week’s preparation is mostly about Mustang improving, not Union.
“It’s not about them,” he said. “It’s about being the best version of us that we can be on a daily basis. We will approach this week just like we do every other week.”
Bronco right tackle Micah Davis and left guard Connor Leeper missed all or most of last week’s game due to injuries or illness. Blankenship said he expects both players to be available.
Last season during a 9-3 campaign, Union routed Mustang, 44-3.