Wow. We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2017 regular season!
The Woodward Boomers, who are riding a three-game losing streak, head to historic Taft Stadium for their first road game since Week 1, where they will meet the Northwest Classen Knights.
WOODWARD (1-3, 0-1) at NORTHWEST CLASSEN (1-3, 0-1)
WHERE: Taft Stadium, Oklahoma City
COVERAGE: Z92, 92.3 FM and z92online.com (Sean Gallagher, Andy Newby)
1st Down: No Need to Panic
“Remain calm. All is well.”
That famous line from a young Kevin Bacon in “Animal House” didn’t help him keep the peace at Faber’s homecoming parade, but it is more effective when calming down Boomer fans who look at the 1-3 start with worry.
Last season, Woodward entered the Northwest Classen game with the same 1-3, 0-1 record. The Boomers won two-straight games and were back in the saddle, in contention for a playoff spot.
Looking at this season’s team and an early forecast of their district shows Woodward will be competitive and can finish third or fourth in 5A-2, which would put them in the playoffs.
2nd Down: Tough First Half Schedule
Coach Craig Hixon made this point during our conversation on the Coaches Show Wednesday evening. In retrospect, Woodward’s non-district schedule was challenging and the Boomers opened district play against a team poised to win the state championship.
Clinton is still trying to find itself with Reade Box’s flexbone offense, Elk City has shown improvement from last season and Weatherford looks poised for a deep postseason run in 4A come November.
Moving past McGuinness, the district schedule becomes more favorable for Woodward. Northwest Classen this week, Lawton Eisenhower at home for homecoming and then a trip to Piedmont. Those next three games will set the tone for the rest of the season.
3rd Down: Defense vs. Offense
Through the first four games, the Boomers offense is averaging just a little over 12 points a game.
The number is low, but Woodward has seen some good defenses to the start the season.
For those who like a game filled with offense, they might be wondering when the Boomers will have that offensive explosion.
It could come tonight against Northwest Classen, who surrendered 55 points to Piedmont last week and were pushed around by the Wildcats offensive line.
Coach Hixon likes his offense and is confident his offensive line can win the battle up front. This matchup with the Knights could provide Kole Marlatt and Sladyn Covalt an opportunity to have a big night in the run game, Woodward’s bread-and-butter on offense.
The defense deserves praise for its performance through the first four games.
They held off Clinton in week 1 with a force fumble caused by Frankie Hickey and a recovery by Garrett Dunlap on the Red Tornadoes final drive as they moved into field goal territory.
In the game against Elk City, the defense adjusted to the spread offense after the first half and gave the Boomers a chance to make a comeback.
Weatherford’s offense coughed the ball up twice, as Hood Hardy returned a fumble to put Woodward up 14-0 less than five minutes into the game. Later in the game, Jay Laird made a key interception at his own 8-yard line.
They held McGuinness running back Dominic Richardson in check for a half, and forced three fumbles, recovering two of those against the Fighting Irish.
If Woodward’s offense can put together longer drives that result in points, and the defense continues its strong play, the wins will come.
4th Down: Boomer Bumps and Brusies
A few starters for Woodward sustained minor injuries against McGuinness.
Eddie Montes, Ty Rummery and Dylan Whitewater were active, but limited in practices this week. According to Hixon, they should be good to go.
EXTRA POINT: Tonight’s game is an Oklahoma National Guard “Game of the Week”. Woodward and Northwest Classen will both wear special jerseys.