Carnegie, Cyril among B-3's best
Welcome to Class B home of 8-man football. For four Southwest Oklahoma teams in this class, 2017 figures to be a promising season.
In District B-3, Carnegie aims to repeat as district champ. Cyril will give Carnegie a run for its money at the title while Snyder looks to crawl out of the district cellar. Meanwhile, in District B-4, Central High will duke it out with Waurika and Fox for the title.
Each team knows the difficulties on the horizon with district play. That's why the mantra for each school is "one game at a time, one week at a time."
"There are no off weeks for us," Cyril coach Trevor Knight said. "We have to take it one week at a time and try to win that day."
There's something different about this year's team and Carnegie coach Jim Harvey can feel it.
"They're all competitors. That's what probably makes this year's team so much fun," Harvey said. "They like to compete, win, and make sure what they're doing is right. They're go-getters that's what I like about them."
Harvey enters his fifth year in stint number two with Carnegie, though it's his 13th year overall leading the Wildcats. But in his 13 years few teams have matched the positive attitude and work ethic that these Wildcats have. It's even made the little things like practice much more fun.
"I kind of got my coaching shoes back on this year," Harvey said. "It's enjoyable. It's really a fun group."
Carnegie has plenty of go-getters on the offensive side of the ball where the Wildcats have explosive playmakers everywhere you look.
Quarterback Xavier Nesahkluah (5-10, 160, Jr.) got several starts last year under his belt when Carnegie's top QB was injured. Now Nesahkluah is ready to take over the reins full time with plenty of weapons at his disposal.
Taylor Martin (5-10, 150, Jr.) is the top returning receiver. Randall Hurt is also back. Another explosive wideout is Jonah Killman, whom coach Harvey has been impressed with his leadership in practice as well as his performance on the field.
"We've got a lot of receivers who can not only catch the ball but they can run. That helps tremendously," Harvey said. "So we're gonna throw it around a bunch. I'm really excited about our offense."
Yards after catch is an underrated statistic and teams like Carnegie which can rack up yards in the open field in a hurry can be awfully dangerous.
That's the main reason why Carnegie will operate through the spread offense and look to create extra space and maximize big play potential with their playmakers. The backfield highlighted by Tristen Hainta (5-8, 170, Jr.) can be just as potent with space in the open field.
Carnegie returns two starters on its offensive line Eddie Cano (5-10, 235, Sr.) and Charnel Lindsey (6-2, 260, Sr.). Sophomore Josh Milton has been stepping up and will be a key part of the O-line.
On defense, Jaispen Bialis (6-1, 210, Sr.) will be a key leader at defensive end. Along with, Cano and Lindsay on the front line, that gives the Wildcats three returning starters on the defensive line. Hainta will patrol the middle at linebacker and Rhodey Mabry (5-10, 180, Sr.), who also plays fullback, will be the star outside linebacker off the edge.