Tahlequah Daily Press

November 1, 2013

Matlock returns for Cougars

High school football notebook

Sports Editor

— Keys was without the services of leading rusher Dakota Matlock last week at Hilldale. This week, Matlock is set to return when Keys host Jay tonight.

“He’s going to play,” Keys head coach Gary Willis said. “He’s not 100 percent, but I’m sure everyone is beat up this time of year.”

Matlock, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound sophomore running back, has collected 640 yards and five touchdowns on 101 carries this season for Keys (1-7, 1-3 District 3A-7).

Filling in for Matlock last week was Seth Fritts, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound sophomore tailback who had 114 yards on the ground against Hilldale. And now with Matlock back, Keys can look to a more diverse call-carrying situation on offense.

“We moved Fritts to the offensive side of the ball to get him some carries,” Willis said. “(Normal reserve tailback) Josh Ferguson is hobbled with an ankle injury, so we tried to get what we could out of him on defense (last week). But with Fritts and Matlock, it gives us plenty of options in the future.”

Indians’ look to bounce back

In a crucial District 3A-7 contest at Jay last week, Sequoyah managed only 14 points in a blowout loss. The Bulldogs won comfortably and had the game wrapped up before the fourth quarter started.

It wasn’t what Sequoyah players and coaches had envisioned.

“I certainly don’t think there is a 34-point difference between us and Jay,” Sequoyah head coach Shane Richardson said. “But that’s the way it went.”

Now the Indians (4-4, 2-2 District 3A-7) are facing an uphill climb to clinch a spot in the 3A playoffs. Sequoyah needs Jay to lose to Keys while also picking up a victory over Hilldale and Lincoln Christian — both of whom are looking down at Sequoyah in the standings.

“We can’t afford to be looking ahead at playoff scenarios,” said Richardson, whose club plays its home finale against Hilldale tonight. “Hilldale is too good for that, and they command our respect.”

Playoff hopes for Hulbert

The chances are slim but Hulbert has an outside shot at making the playoffs in Class 2A.

The Riders started off the season 0-7 only to conquer Quapaw last week to improve to 1-4 in District 2A-8. And with that win came some playoff hopes for the Riders.

“Believe it or not sitting at 1-7,” Hulbert head coach Gary Riley said. “If we win out, we’d be in the mix.”

Hulbert will take on Kansas (5-3, 3-2) tonight at Rider Field. Hulbert held serve on its home field last week with a 19-6 triumph over the Wildcats.

“We’re playing much better,” Riley said. “Really, since about the second half against Commerce, we’ve been playing better."