One step to glory
With a dynamic, balanced offense and one of the most mobile defenses ever fielded at MacArthur, the Highlanders will try to take that final step to the top of the high school football summit tonight when they battle Skiatook for the Class 5A state championship.
The game begins at 7 p.m. at the Yukon Miller Stadium on the campus of Yukon High School. It would mark the first state football championship since Mac opened its doors in 1968. This will be the seventh time the Highlanders have reached the title game, the last being in 2011.
Both teams are 12-1, with Mac losing a 28-26 setback on the road at Ardmore and Skiatook losing a 22-21 decision at home to Shawnee.
Skiatook had slipped in somewhat under the radar until it dismantled Ardmore, 42-28, last week in the semifinals. Ardmore had been rolling along with its flex-bone option attack and appeared to be a serious title contender but Skiatook found a way to win with relative ease.
Meanwhile, MacArthur was in the fight of its life last Friday, finally beating McAlester in a wild 50-49 overtime thriller. In that game Mac allowed a staggering 395 yards to Buffs' quarterback Dalton Wood, but still got the victory.
Part of the reason Mac has reached this point is its offense, a balanced unit led by Will Collins, one of the most crafty signal callers Lawton has seen since Kelly Stinnett directed Lawton High's 1987 state championship team.
Like Stinnett, Collins is just a great leader with a great feel for the game. He has a great arm, as did Stinnett, and while he doesn't have blazing speed, he picks and chooses his openings and then has a sneaky way of getting every last inch possible.
The difference in the two is that Stinnett and the Wolverines were primarily a running team, while Mac has actually thrown for more yards than it has run for, 3,003 to 2,569 on the ground. When you split that 5,572 yards into the average game, the Highlanders are producing 428.6 yards contest, pretty impressive when you consider at least three or four games the starting offense never played in the second half.
The man leading the offense now is coordinator Michael Pooschke, a former Mac standout who when went on to a solid career at Kansas State where he was a tough tight end, catching 21 passes during his senior season in 2007. He brings that tight end toughness to the unit and is not bashful about throwing the ball from anywhere on the field.