The Yukon Millers, coming off a disappointing loss to Broken Arrow on Thursday, will be facing a well-rested Jenks team this week.
The Trojans had an unexpected week off last week after postponing its game with Edmond Santa Fe after more than 40 players were sidelined because of COVID-19.
That game has been rescheduled for Monday, meaning Jenks will play three games in a matter of eight days.
What concerns Yukon coach Jeremy Reed is the team at the front of that eight-day schedule.
The Millers lost a heartbreaker last week when Broken Arrow, for the second consecutive year, pulled a win out of the hat in the last second.
This year’s loss came on the next-to-last play of the game on a pitch-and-catch play in the back of the end zone.
The final was 27-22.
Reed said he will spend this week trying to prepare his team for a Jenks team that is considered among the elite teams in Oklahoma.
They are ranked No. 2 in Class 6A-1.
Thus far, Reed’s Millers have already gone toe-to-toe with the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in the state in back-to-back weeks.
“It’s typical Jenks. They are a very sound and disciplined football team. They have great speed and size,” Reed said. “They do the right things from a fundamental standpoint.”
The Trojans are led by quarterback Stephen Kittleman and receiver Jayden Patrick.
Reed said the Trojans are a well-balanced offense with both its passing and running games.
Grant Lohr has been a big part of the running game, while his back-up, Brock Smith, also gets plenty of playing time.
Reed said it will be important for his defense to be on its toes.
“We’ve gotten better on defense, and that has played a role. We have to keep getting better at doing what we do … everything we do. Every opponent is a good one. We don’t get a week off,” he said.
One element of that is the way Yukon’s defense has been moving to the ball.
That was an area that Reed said his players and coaches have been working on for weeks.
“That saved us on some big runs that could have been touchdowns. We need more gang tackling of the ball carrier and more fundamentals,” he said.
Yukon has surpassed the mindset of being manhandled by Broken Arrow. Now, finding a way to get past the lore that is Jenks is important.
“We’ve got to get past the hurdle of going to Jenks and looking at their mascot all night,” he said.
Last week, more than 40 Jenks’ players were sidelined, as were at least six Yukon starters.
Reed said he expects Jenks to be fully rested and ready to play.
“I’m expecting them to have every one of them (players) and to put their best team out there,” he said.
As for his own team, Reed said it’s a wait-and-see situation.
“We’d love to have everyone back. I don’t know how realistic that is,” he said.
But, he added, his players have done a good job of compensating.
“I feel like we have competed really well. We have no control over COVID,” he said.
In fact, Reed said, he lost three more players on Friday.
“You can not be in school and still lose people to classroom contact. It’s not a fun position to be in. We’ve got to learn to roll with the punches, and a lot of punches are being thrown.” he said.