So much for attrition playing a role in the story of Sequoyah’s regular season — thus far, anyway.
The Indians have played just five quarters in two weeks, cruising to a 40-20 victory over Okemah, and barely breaking a sweat during a 28-6 rain-curtailed rout of Beggs. The one-quarter washout vs. the Demons amounted to a weather-induced waving of the white flag from a an opponent apparently disinterested in splashing around in puddles.
“We’re not very happy about that, but that’s how it turned out,” said Sequoyah head coach Brent Scott. “We’re happy about being 2-0, though. You know, at the beginning of the year we were talking about how we’d like to be able to rest them, because we had little depth. So it’s tough to be upset about something that you’d wished for in the beginning.”
While the conditioned reaction begs concern over a lack of clock time, pertinent to the make-up of this particular Sequoyah squad, Mother Nature’s impediment may well serve as the proverbial blessing in disguise. After all, SHS was on pace to build a 64-12 halftime advantage; a scenario that would have sent the likes of Brayden Scott, Niko Hammer and Tanner Sheets to the sideline anyway. But, with minimal reserves on deck, others may have been required to remain on the field at unfamiliar positions; risking injury during meaningless minutes, on a sloppy surface, in a game that was over before it began.
Despite the lack of of playing time, several Indians have, nonetheless, managed to post impressive statistics through the first two weeks of the season. Quarterback Brayden Scott has nearly as many touchdowns (four) as incompletions (five), connecting on 17-of-22 passes for 200 yards — including going 4-of-4 for 76-yards two touchdowns in last week’s cameo appearance.
“He’s been really efficient,” Brent Scott said. “Our offensive line has been able to block and protect, the receivers are doing their job, and Kyle Helsley has done a good job of blocking, as well.”
Equally impactful has been the emergence of Helsley, via the running game. Despite the reduced sample size, the senior running back ranks 13th in the state in rushing, with 243 yards and three scores on just eight carries.
“Kyle has definitely run the ball very well for us,” said Scott. “The offensive line has done a tremendous job of picking up some of the new blocking schemes. When we’re in our one-back set, Kyle’s the guy, Carter (Woodruff)’s the guy. We have a lot of guys that have touched the ball.”
The Sequoyah quarterback is among the worst kept secrets in the state, but the offensive balance that has come as a result of Helsley & Co.’s effectiveness on the ground has upped the degree of difficulty considerably for coaches saddled with the chore of conjuring up an effective scouting report. For instance, coaches like Victory Christian’s Brent Marley.
“(Victory Christian) has two hall of fame coaches on the staff, so they’re not going to panic,” Scott said. “They’ve been preparing for us for a while. They’ve got the Berryhill film. I think they’ll pick and choose their battles.”
The Conquerors have taken a page out of Jimbo Fisher’s “Guide to Scheduling Cupcakes” thus far, leading off with powerhouses Webster (ranked 26th in Class 4A, outscored 71-15 through first two games) and Regent Prep — an independent school that began the season with a one-point loss to Class 2A doormat Pocola.
Still, in spite of starting a freshman quarterback, Victory Christian returns eight starters from a season ago; a season during which the Conquerors qualified for the playoffs after reeling off the school’s first winning record since 2007.
“They are very, very good defensively,” said Scott. “They have a good linebacking core and an aggressive style of defense. (Marley) is a heck of a coach, and he has a really talented team. I think they’ll win their district. It’ll be a good football game.”
Early weather reports call for a 50 percent chance of in-game showers, but after consecutive weeks of braving the elements, Scott and the Indians should be largely unaffected.
“It’s a mindset,” he said. “We can always go from a passing mindset to a two-tight power set. We can do either, or. We are capable of both, we do a combination of run and pass.”
In other words, bring the rain.
Victory Christian at Sequoyah
Where: Thompson Field (off Highway 62 just south of the high school).
Radio: Game will air live on KTLQ, AM-1350, and it will stream online at www.sequoyah.cherokee.org.
Nicknames: Sequoyah Indians; Victory Christian Conquerors.
Coaches: Sequoyah (Brent Scott, 71-22, ninth season); Victory Christian (Brent Marley, 22-33, sixth season).
Records: Both teams are 2-0.
Rankings: Sequoyah is No. 5 in the Associated Press’ 3A prep poll; Victory Christian is not ranked in 3A.
Series record: Sequoyah leads 4-2.
Last meeting: In 2011, Sequoyah beat Victory Christian, 47-21.
Last week: Sequoyah 28, Beggs 6 (1 quarter); Victory Christian 21, Regent Prep 0.
News to know: Sequoyah’s game at Beggs in Week 2 was cut short in the first quarter by a thunderstorm. Game officials decided not to resume the game and give the win to Sequoyah. ... Victory Christian has only allowed seven points this season, all coming in a 34-7 win over Webster in Week 1.
Players to watch
Sequoyah: Kyle Helsley (RB), Niko Hammer (WR/DB).
— Helsley has excelled in the running game for the Indians, racking up 243 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries this season. So far, he’s posted 30.4 yards per carry and 121.5 rushing yards per game.
— Niko Hammer has scored two receiving touchdowns and one rushing touchdown this season. He also has an interception on defense.
Victory Christian: Keats Calhoon (QB).
— Calhoon has completed 18 of 26 passes this season for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
Looking ahead: Sequoyah will play at Locust Grove on Sept. 14, while Victory Christian will take on Henryetta.