The schedule appeared tough enough on the surface. But by the end of the 2013 football season, both Keys and Sequoyah had schedules that better resembled meat grinders.
Both had the misdeed of taking on Locust Grove, Hilldale, Lincoln Christian and Jay in District 3A-7. Then toss in Sequoyah’s out-of-district contests against Beggs and Victory Christian and Keys’ non-district clashes against Vian and Checotah and you have one brutal test after another on the gridiron.
No need to tell Sequoyah head coach Shane Richardson, he’s well aware of what transpired on his team’s schedule this year.
“We ended up playing five of the top 11 teams in (Class) 3A,” Richardson said. “Our seniors went through the gauntlet.”
District foes of Sequoyah and Keys made impressive runs during the 3A playoffs. Lincoln Christian, Locust Grove and Hilldale all made the 3A quarterfinals. And adding to Keys’ degree of difficulty was Vian’s run to the 2A semifinals.
With deep playoff surges being made by teams in District 3A-7, that meant all the distinguished postseason honors were commonly dispersed among Lincoln Christian, Hilldale and Locust Grove. But Sequoyah and Keys players managed to snatch a couple of honors along the way.
For the Indians (4-6 overall, 2-4 in 3A-7), Nick Kingfisher, Cody Hooper, Marley Lowe, Dylan Poe, Kyle Martinez, Colin Vann, Elijah Tucker and Caisen Green were named to the All-District 3A-7 squad. Green was Sequoyah’s leading receiver with 44 catches for 782 yards and 13 touchdowns; Hooper — in addition to 12 catches for 117 yards — led Sequoyah with five interceptions on defense; Kingfisher did a little bit of everything for the Indians (two rushing touchdowns, 17 catches for 343 yards, three interceptions, a 32.2 yard-per-kickoff-return average and a 36.6 yard-per-punt); and Poe tied for the team lead in tackles with 40.
“They are well-deserving of the All-District team,” Richardson said. “I’m proud of all of our players.”
At Keys, running back Dakota Matlock finished the year with 920 yards and eight touchdowns on 136 carries. Trey Horn was the Cougars’ only other All-District selection.
Locust Grove’s Cory Rhode was named the district’s Most Valuable Player, while his coach, Matt Hennesy, picked up Coach of the Year accolades.