Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

October 5, 2012

Sequoyah's defense exudes toughness in 2012

The smoke has finally cleared from last week’s county showdown at Cougar Stadium. Actually, the smoke probably subsided around halftime, when the game was ultimately decided in Sequoyah’s 52-9 triumph over Keys.

I’ll be honest, I had been looking forward to the Cherokee County Clash for weeks leading up to it. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than when Keys and Sequoyah square off.

And to me it doesn’t matter the sport; I enjoy the softball, the baseball, the football and definitely basketball. I mean how can you ever top the matchup the two churned out in February of 2010, when Keys shocked the basketball world at The Place Where They Play in the playoffs.

It was a scene unlike most I’d ever seen before.

Just an absolutely great time.

I had high hopes that this year’s football squabble in District 3A-7 would follow the same script. Yet, it didn’t — not even close.

It might have been if the Cougars had poured glue on their hands and had been able to hold on to the football. But six turnovers later, Sequoyah was marching to another easy victory.

The one thing I did walk away thinking was, “wow, Sequoyah is pretty darn impressive.”

Now, I know that’s been said before during the course of the regular season, only to follow with despair and disappointment in the postseason.

This year, though, the Indians have a whole new feel to them.

Toughness.

Sure the best quarterback (Brayden Scott) in Class 3A resides on the south end of town. And yeah, Kyle Helsley and Karter Woodruff compose a lethal running-game threat. And duh, Niko Hammer and Ryan Helsley are going to make life in the passing game that much easier for Scott.

But offense isn’t even where your jaw drops when you watch Sequoyah.

It’s when the Indians are on defense.

The linebackers are stout and nimble. Dillon Poe, Karter Woodruff and Nick Kingfisher patrol the middle of the field looking to take the ball away from the other team.

The defensive line, well, it’s just tough as nails. Tyler Chaffin, Grayden Elrod, Tanner Sheets, Jordan Colbert and others make picking up one yard a chore. And they’re not just big lugs in the middle of the field, they’re remarkably agile.

For instance, Sheets snatched a pass by Keys quarterback Trevor Eubanks out of the air and galloped 27 yards the other way for a touchdown.

“He’s an athlete,” Sequoyah coach Brent Scott said of Sheets. “He plays basketball, he’s a third baseman (in baseball). He’s one of those guys out there that’s just making plays.”

And not to be outdone, Chaffin matched Sheets with an interception of his own later in the game.

For a unit that’s supposed to be full of guys with frying pans as hands, the Indians have guys who can intercept passes with the likes of any cornerback or safety.

That kind of athletic ability, coupled with brut toughness up front, should allow Sequoyah to overpower clubs the rest of the regular season, including games against Hilldale and Lincoln Christian — Sequoyah’s two biggest threats to stealing the 3A-7 crown from the Indians.

Once the postseason rolls around, Sequoyah will likely draw a team like Checotah or Heavener in the first round of the playoffs. Good luck making that a close contest.

Further down the road, however, games against Berryhill, Verdigris, Seminole, Kingfisher, Blanchard, Tuttle or Metro Christian could put Sequoyah’s toughness to the test. Then Sequoyah’s toughness will be put to the test.

Luckily, I like the Indians to pass that test will into late November and even early December this year.

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