Coming off back-to-back double-digit win seasons the 2020 edition of the Waurika Eagle football squad will be facing somewhat of a rebuilding task and a more daunting schedule.
Waurika has three games on the schedule that feature teams that have won state titles within the past five years – a couple of them have more than one gold ball in that time.
And, the Eagles will be competing in District B-3 with three new district foes – all of which were playoff teams a year ago.
Waurika will open the 2020 football season Friday night as they host old rival Grandfield on Norman West Field. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
While the Eagles lost a number of contributors to the success of the team the past two years, the squad is not devoid of plenty of talent that it will take to put together another successful season.
For the first time in a number of years there will be someone not named Mora at the quarterback position.
Sophomore Treyton Torrez will be directing the Eagle offense in 2020.
“Treyton is explosive out of the backfield and has been impressive so far,” said head coach Joe Allen, who begins his third season at the helm of the Eagles.
“He (Treyton) is always wanting to figure things out and asking questions,” Allen added about the sophomore quarterback. “He is a natural leader for us at quarterback.”
The top offensive returning starter for the Eagles is running back Kevin Garcia.
Garcia has been a mainstay in the Eagle backfield the past couple of years and in 2019 rushed for 1,187 yards a year ago.
Garcia was also impressive as a receiver from his jet sweep spot in the offense. He also returned two kickoffs for scores a year ago.
“I really like to get him (Garcia) out in space and that is where he is more effective,” Allen noted about the 2019 all-district back.
Waurika will have plenty of talent at the receiver positions. Octavio Gomez will get the start at tight end for a few games after Houston Scott suffered an injury.
Mason Houston will be the wide receiver for the Eagles and Trent Arellano will back up Garcia.
Gabe Jenkins and Matt Arriola will see action at the tailback position for the Eagles.
“We have more skill position kids this year than the previous two years at Waurika,” Allen said. “We are two deep and there is not much of a drop off at those positions.”
The defense for the Eagles is loaded with talent and experience.
Slade Cathey and Arriola will join newcomer Cory Sampson along the defensive line that will be tough to penetrate for most Eagle opponents this season.
Arellano and Jenkins will be the linebackers and Torrez, Garcia and Houston will roam the secondary for the Eagles.
Jenkins collected 68 tackles as a sophomore last season
Gomez will see action at both cornerback and linebacker to give some relief for the starts.
The Eagles have 23 players on the roster and will have the luxury of having depth to face the challenging schedule ahead.
“We scheduled these teams to give our kids a sense of where we need to be,” Allen said. “We will find out early what it takes to be in the spot of a true contender.”
Waurika’s district for the next two seasons will be a bit tougher than the past couple of years. Tipton moved up from Class C where they have been a dominant team the past few years. Snyder joined the district and they have made a playoff appearance the past two seasons.
Waurika is tabbed as the runner up behind district favorite Snyder which would mean a home playoff berth in the first round of the playoffs.
The Eagles’ final tune up scrimmage slated for last Friday against Thackerville was cancelled because of the COVID-19 virus outbreak in Love County schools including Thackerville.
If the Eagles can stay healthy throughout the season, they could be equipped to make a deeper run in the playoffs than the past two seasons – even if the win-loss ledger is not as good.
Here’s a preview of the Waurika opponents for 2020:
Coach: Darren Lamar, 3rd year (4-15)
Preseason Ranking: Not ranked; 7th or 5th in District C-2
Last Year’s Record: 3-7
Last Playoff Appearance: 2017, lost to Tyrone, 76-30 in first round of Class C playoffs.
Last Meeting: Waurika 64, Grandfield 0, in 2019
First Meeting: Grandfield 9, Waurika 3, in 1922
Series Record: Series is tied at 19-19-3
BEARCAT BEAT: The Bearcats are like a lot of Class C eight-man schools in that they are fighting a numbers game. The Bearcat offense will be led by junior quarterback Ethan Hammer. At running back, Blake Houston returns to provide a threat any time he touches the ball. Grandfield returns four starters on the defensive side of the ball. The 2020 squad overall will be young and inexperienced and it looks like the string of losing seasons may continue for the Bearcats that currently have 12 players on their roster.
Coach: Tanner Woods, 2nd year (9-3)
Last Year’s Record: 9-3
Preseason Ranking: Class B: VYPE (4th); The Tulsa World (2nd); The Daily Oklahoman (8th); 2nd in District B-1.
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Alex, 44-30 in second round of Class B playoffs.
Series Record: These two schools have never met in football
Zero Week Result: lost to Cherokee, 28-20
TIGER TARGETS: Laverne will make the long drive from northwest Oklahoma to south central Oklahoma after posting back-to-back 9-3 seasons. The Tigers have been a contender in Class B for a number of years and won a state title in 2016 with a 15-0 record. Laverne also won state championships in 2012 and 2013 and over the past seven seasons has won 81 games while losing only 11 contests. The Tigers return seven starters on offensive side of the ball. Peyton Freeman returns to direct the offense at the quarterback position and the junior compiled 886 yards rushing a year ago and passed for 843 yards on just 47 completions. Overall the Tigers are loaded with talented returnees – most of whom are juniors – and will present a tremendous challenge for the Eagles in the second game of the season.
Coach: Kenny Ridley, 3rd year (14-6)
Last Year’s Record: 8-2
Preseason Ranking: Competing as an independent this year
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Snyder, 64-18, in the first round of the Class B playoffs.
Last Meeting: Waurika 62, Wilson 34 in 2019
First Meeting: Wilson 14, Waurika 0, in 1921
Series Record: Waurika leads, 52-20-3, in known results
Zero Week Result: defeated Cyril, 56-32
EAGLE FLIGHTS: Wilson will try to repeat the success of last season, but they have chosen to go to independent status for the next two years which means they will not compete for post-season play. For Wilson to have success in 2020 they will depend on some younger players that played behind the experienced players from the past two seasons. The top returnee is Tre Richardson a senior lineman that will anchor both the offensive and defensive lines. Two sophomores – Caylen Fulton and John Gunter – will be counted on to provide an offensive threat. The Eagles are entering the season with great enthusiasm and attitude, but will have to overcome the inexperience that will dot the lineup for the squad.
Coach: Craig Hixon, 2nd year (14-0)
Last Year’s Record: 14-0, Class B State Champions
Preseason Ranking: Class B: VYPE (2nd); The Tulsa World (1st); The Daily Oklahoma (1st); 1st in District B-1.
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, defeated Regent Prep, 25-19, in Class B state finals.
Last Meeting: Waurika 25, Shattuck 8 in 1988 Class B quarterfinals (11-man)
First Meeting: Waurika 25, Shattuck 8 in 1988
Series Record: Waurika leads 1-0
Zero Week Result: defeated Tipton, 46-0
INDIAN NOTES: The fourth week of the season will provide another stern test for the Eagles as they travel to northwest Oklahoma to face the three-time state champion Indians. The program has dominated eight-man football in the 21st century winning six straight titles from 2003 to 2008 and have won 11 titles overall since 2003. The first state championship won by Shattuck came in 1991 when the Indians downed Ringling, 18-0, for the Class A crown. The Indians will put a strong and experienced offensive and defensive line on the field, but will also future a great deal of talent in the skilled positions on offense. Jayden Frazier is a 6-1, 185-pound senior running back that will benefit from the bulky offensive line. Coaches believe Frazier could play at the next level. As the Eagles draw near to district play this game will provide a gauge on how much progress the team has made.
Coach: Caleb Howell, 1st year
Last Year’s Record: 4-6
Preseason Ranking: Unranked; 6th in District B-1
Last Playoff Appearance: 2009, lost to Garber, 50-2, in Class B state finals
Series Record: These two teams have never met in football
Zero Week Results: defeated Okeene, 20-0
TIGER TALES: Canton has fallen on hard times over the past few seasons, but last year’s record was the best the Tigers have done since posting a 4-6 mark in 2012. Canton does return seven starters from the 2019 squad and four of those players are seniors giving the Tigers a boat load of experience. Seth Bromlow is a four-year starter that will play tailback, fullback and tight end and he will also be a ringleader on defense from the linebacker position. This game could give the Eagles some confidence as they head into the district season.
Coach: John Williamson, 1st year
Last Year’s Record: 5-6
Preseason Ranking: Unranked; 5th or 4th in District B-3
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Waurika, 54-6, in the first round of the Class B playoffs
Last Meeting: Waurika 54, Cyril 6, in 2019
First Meeting: Cyril 56, Waurika 28 in 2012
Series Record: Series is tied at 4-4
Zero Week Result: lost to Wilson, 56-32
PIRATE PREVIEW: Cyril made its fourth straight playoff appearance last season and for the last several years the Pirates have been competitive. The Pirates return four offensive starters including sophomore quarterback Kole Carlson who threw for 1,267 yards a year ago. Up front the Pirates will feature a mixture of youth an experience s they will start one senior, one junior and two sophomores. This will be the first district test of the 2020 season for the Eagles and after a blowout loss to Waurika in the 2019 playoffs, the Pirates will be looking for some measure of revenge.
at Central High
Coach: Gerald White, 1st year
Last Year’s Record: 4-6
Preseason Ranking: Not Ranked; 6th in District B-3
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Burns Flat-Dill City, 54-6, in first round of Class B playoffs.
Last Meeting: Waurika 60, Central High 0, in 2019
First Meeting: Central High 50, Waurika 22 in 2012
Series Record: Series is tied at 3-3
Zero Week Result: defeated Paoli, 48-12
BRONCHO BITES: The last few seasons have been a struggle for the Bronchos as they have bounced between 11-man and eight-man football, but optimism is high in the Central High camp after they hired Tipton assistant Gerald White to man the sidelines at Central High for 2020. Ryan Minden returns from last year’s playoff team for the Bronchos and he will see action at tailback and receiver. Dylan Hargrove, a four-year starter for Central High, will be anchoring the offensive line and he will be counted on to provide leadership to some of the younger members of the 2020 team. Sean Klein, a 6-0, 280-pound senior, is another lineman that will give the Bronchos experience along the line on both sides of the ball. The Eagles cannot afford to look past Central High as they enter the closing stretch of the district schedule that features the three playoff contenders.
Coach: Brant Hayes, 2nd Year (4-7)
Last Year’s Record: 4-7
Preseason Ranking: Unranked; 4th or 5th in District B-3
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Alex, 52-6, in first round of Class B playoffs.
Last Meeting: Waurika 56, Empire 22, in 2019
First Meeting: Waurika 48, Empire 0, in 1974
Series Record: Waurika leads, 22-11
Zero Week Result: defeated Wellston, 66-20
BULLDOG BARKING: Empire returns seven starters on offense and the plan is to use an up tempo offense for the 2020 season. Mitchel Monteith returns to guide the Bulldog offense at quarterback. Monteith passed for over 1,500 yards a year ago. Kaden Pekah will be the key cog along the defensive line for the Bulldogs after recording 48 tackles a year ago. Santos Benitez also returns along the defensive line and he was the leading tackler for Empire a year ago.
Coach: Travis White, 7th year (69-10)
Last Year’s Record: 9-3
Preseason Ranking: Class B: VYPE (unranked); The Tulsa World (8th); The Daily Oklahoman (12th); 3rd in District B-3
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Waynoka, 72-48, in Class C semifinals
Last Meeting: Waurika 29, Tipton 0 in 1989
First Meeting: Waurika 50, Tipton 0 in 1935
Series Record: Waurika leads, 7-2
Zero Week Result: lost to Shattuck, 46-0
TIGER TALK: Tipton will be looking to make its 14th straight playoff appearance but will have to do so in Class B instead of Class C were Tipton has been competing for the majority of those years. The Tigers have seven state titles in school history and five of those championships have come in the past eight years. For 2020, the Tigers will depend on a big and experienced offensive line and the experience of senior signal-caller Tayler Waugh who threw for 512 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. Defensively, the Tigers will be led by senior defensive end Trey Mains who had 48 tackles and three sacks last season. The move to Class B may present some challenges for the Tigers early in the season but by the time they head to Cy Sloan Stadium, Tipton will provide a stiff challenge for the Eagles.
Coach: Joe Garrison, 4th year (27-9)
Last Year’s Record: 8-4
Preseason Ranking: Class B: VYPE (8th); The Daily Oklahoman (10th)
Last Playoff Appearance: 2019, lost to Cherokee, 52-6, in the second round of the Class B playoffs
Last Meeting: Snyder 22, Waurika 20, in 2019
First Meeting: Waurika 23, Snyder 8, in 1982
Series Record: Snyder leads, 6-3.
Zero Week Result: defeated Corn Bible Academy, 52-6
CYCLONE COMMENTARY: The Cyclones nipped the Eagles a year ago in a contest that saw Waurika commit eight turnovers in a two-point loss. A couple of the offensive performers that hurt the Eagles a year ago are back for the 2020 campaign for the Cyclones including veteran quarterback Ryan Kelley who rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns a year ago against the Eagles and threw for another 123 yards. Jervon Galvan returns at tailback for the Cyclones and he scored a touchdown and added a two-point conversion last year against Waurika. The Cyclones have size and experience up front on both sides of the ball as well and that is why they are tabbed as the district favorite for the upcoming season. The district title could come down to this final game as the Eagles will be after their third straight district crown.