Special to The Sun
After spotting host Yukon a first-quarter field goal, the Edmond North Huskies amped up the defense and kept the explosive Millers in check while steady Stephen McClernon and the offense churned out a 20-9 victory Thursday night.
The win upped the Huskies’ record in District Class 6A-3 to 3-0 and set up a titanic showdown with Norman North — also 3-0 in district play — at Wantland Stadium Friday night.
Yukon’s Josh Bedell recovered a fumble on the Huskies’ first possession just 26 yards from the goal line, but two cracks into the North defense and an incomplete pass brought on Branden Brus for a 38-yard field goal to put the Huskies in a 3-0 hole with just over two minutes gone in the game.
But the Huskies grabbed a 14-9 advantage at halftime thanks to more defensive pressure. Lance Dixon and Ty Matthews slapped down Hayden Somerville passes on third and fourth downs to give North possession at its own 30.
Then the massive North offensive line of Blake Snow, Gage Lambert, Shane Taylor, Austin Steward and Ty’Rell Johnson took over, constructing a fence around McClernon, who connected with Luke Rossi for a 33-yard gainer to the 37. Then they opened gaping holes for Zack Jenkins, who had gains of 24 and five yards before blasting into the end zone from the nine. Trevor Moore’s PAT put North ahead to stay, 7-3.
Next Yukon possession: The Millers took the ball at the 20 after Moore booted the kick out of the end zone and marched 60 yards to the North 20 where Scott Courtney took over, sacking a scrambling Somerfield for no gain on first down and forcing three straight stray throws to give McClernon and his squad possession with 4:34 left on the clock.
That reading on the clock didn’t move much as McClernon had all day to wait until Rossi broke free at midfield and then hit the speedy receiver with a perfect pass and Rossi did the rest, dashing past the secondary for an 80-yard touchdown. Moore made it 14-3.
But Yukon and Somerville showed why the Millers are among the offensive leaders in the state as they scored in just three plays following the kickoff, the payoff a 62-yard bomb from Somerville to Caelen Groce for the TD. The missed point-after-touchdown made it 14-9 at halftime with the Millers set to get the second-half kickoff.
And, get it they did and the Huskies then unleashed their defensive muscle and forced three punts and two failed fourth-down attempts for the Millers’ five second-half possessions.
Meanwhile, North Texas bound soccer star Moore converted a 41-yard field goal in the third period and a 37-yard beauty into the blustery north wind in the final period to seal the home club’s doom.
Trailing by only eight, the Millers marched with the kickoff following the third period field goal with a first down at the North 20 when the Husky defense rose up and decided the contest.
On back-to-back plays, Caileb Booze and Scott Courtney sacked Somerville for a nine-yard loss and Courtney followed that up by chasing the elusive Miller quarterback down from behind for another nine-yard loss.
McClernon then displayed his poise and calm leadership, marching his club on a time-consuming drive to put Moore into position for his game-clinching field goal.
Jenkins, Ezel McIntee and Richard McCauley shared rushing duties and came up with 173 yards and McClernon provided the balance with the passing game throwing for 207 yards on 14-of-19 passing, connecting with Rossi for two big plays.
Meanwhile Courtney and his mates limited the Yukon ground attack to just 34 yards on 27 rushes, including the critical sacks when the Millers had driven to the Edmond North 15 early in the fourth quarter.