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Mustang awaits Trojans in playoff opener

Mustang players celebrate during last Friday’s game against Moore. The Broncos face Class 6A powerhouse Jenks on Friday at home.
Photo / Ron Lane

Jenks’ Trojans will visit Mustang at 7 p.m. Friday for a first-round Class 6A playoff game after extending one of Oklahoma’s most amazing prep football streaks last week.
The Trojans (6-4, 5-2 in 6A-2), winners of five of their last six games, crushed visiting Westmoore, 44-15, to qualify for the postseason playoffs for the 31st straight year.
Jenks has won 16 state championships during its illustrious history.
The Trojans’ offense has been one of the most prolific in 6A over the past six weeks, with their only loss in that span coming two weeks ago to District 6A-2 champion Edmond Santa Fe, 33-30.
Mustang (7-3, 5-2 in 6A-1) also is on a roll, winning five of its last six contests — including a 49-35 triumph at Moore last week when it shut out the Lions most of the second half.
Mustang will be tested by a potent multiple offense that revolves around the three-headed monster of junior quarterback Stephen Kittleman, senior running back Will Cox and senior receiver Justin Murphy.
The Trojans are averaging 38.8 points and allowing 21.6 points per game this season.
“They run multiple formations,” Mustang defensive coordinator Sam Dollar said, “and try to overload you at the point of attack out of each formation.
“They stick to their philosophy but make it look different with so many formations, and throw it just enough to keep you honest with your coverage.”
During Jenks’ six-game hot streak, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Kittleman has completed 81 of 113 passes for 1,305 yards and 14 TDs.
The 5-10, 195-pound Cox has rushed for 18 touchdowns during that span. The last four games, he has carried for 111, 110, 166 and 137 yards.
The 6-4, 195-pound Murphy had seven catches for 129 yards and a TD against Westmoore.
Mustang will continue to emphasize forcing turnovers and making sacks. Successfully attacking Kittleman and Cox will be a big key.
This season, Mustang’s defense has forced 21 turnovers while committing only seven itself.
“We’re averaging almost two turnovers a game. That’s huge,” Dollar said. “We do tackling drills every Tuesday. Not everybody does that the whole year.
“Our tackling drill is giving us the turnovers. The turnovers we have gotten are not gifts from the offense. The turnovers have been earned by our contact.”
Mustang’s defense intercepted two passes and caused two lost fumbles in the second half against Moore. The Lions were held scoreless in their final six drives and the game’s last 23 minutes, 31 seconds.
“We preach takeaways every day in practice and making plays on the ball all the time if you ever have a chance,” senior linebacker Bradyn Jarman said. “Anytime I can bring pressure and cause havoc, I give it my all to help my teammates.”
The playmaking of the 5-11, 195-pound Jarman — he had two sacks and forced a
fumble in the fourth period — helped Mustang score the last 28 points to beat Moore.
Bronco outside linebacker Colt Humphrey had an interception and fumble recovery, junior end Koreion Hayden made an interception and 6-foot, 255-pound sophomore tackle Christian Rowland recovered a fumble.
Humphrey and safety Liam Krivanek, both seniors, have been Mustang’s chief ball-hawkers.
The 6-2, 210-pound Humphrey has intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles, returning one for a touchdown.
Krivanek, a 6-1, 205-pounder, has two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He also stole a two-point conversion pass.
Humphrey said “turnovers swing the momentum in a huge way in a close game. Every single day we sprint to the ball and chainsaw the ballcarrier to knock the ball out.”
Dollar said turning Hayden into an occasional stand-up defensive end paid off in a big way in the fourth quarter.
Hayden intercepted Moore quarterback Daniel Hishaw’s 2nd-and-23 screen pass from the Lion 8. The takeaway at the Moore 5-yard line with 11:04 left led to tailback Khary Brown’s TD run that tied the game 35-35 on the next play.
“We stood Koreion up a few weeks ago,” Dollar said, “so he could see and be more interactive rather than just reactive. I played a base front (4-3 alignment), no pressure in anticipation of the screen. It was a great play by Koreion.”
Mustang and Jenks last met during the 2008 season when the Trojans defeated a 12-0 Bronco team 35-20 at Broken Arrow in the 6A semifinals.
Jarman and his teammates, especially the seniors, are thrilled about playing again at Bronco Stadium.
“Being able to have a home game one more time is an amazing feeling,” Jarman said. “This community is so supportive of us. For a town with this much support, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

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