BY ADAM TROXTELL
It’s been an unpredictably trying year for the Chickasha defense.
They began with a setup that included a front line who would only get better as they played more games, and the same can be said, mostly, for the linebackers. T.J. Filer was, and still is, the anchor, but the dynamics changed when Evan Copeland and Triston Hill went down with injury.
The change meant Robert Ferguson and Daniel Neff had to step into less familiar territory to try and shore up the defensive line. Now, they’re injured, too.
“It’s been a daunting task,” head coach Tom Cobble said about having to adjust after injuries. “I don’t think we’ve had a situation like that before, with so many injuries on the defensive side of the ball.”
Today the Fightin’ Chicks load up what they have to make the three-hour round trip bus ride to Ardmore (5-1) who boast an unbeaten record in 5A District 1. On offense, quarterback Cade Morris continues to drive the team forward, as he recorded two more touchdowns last week in the loss to Lawton-MacArthur. In fact, Chickasha has come along just fine in developing offensive weapons.
Josh Latham averaged 7.7 yards in his 10 carries last week, as the running back maintains his tough-to-tackle reputation. In the receiving corps, Taray Thomas has had the hot hands recently, racking up 82 yards and a touchdown in the last game.
So it comes down to defensive coach Jerry Don Bray’s troops to make the right adjustments against a Tigers offense that presents a new challenge.
“The main thing is getting ready for the Ardmore offense and how it operates,” Cobble said. “They run a strong option game that’s a little different to what we have seen in the past.”
But even after a defeat that take them back to an even 3-3 on the year, Cobble said his players have had a solid, positive few practice days, and there might be good reason for that. Last year the Fightin’ Chicks were neck-and-neck with Ardmore right up until the very end, and both teams come into the game with an extra year of experience under their belt.
“You’d think it would still be a pretty even game,” Cobble said. “Last year they just had the big run at the end. I don’t know what would be the major difference this year.”