Tahlequah Daily Press


September 21, 2012

Indians look to bounce back versus familiar face

If last fall’s late-season matchup is any indication, Sequoyah’s trip to Locust Grove should serve as the ideal bounce-back opportunity in the aftermath of last week’s stunning collapse versus an overmatched Victory Christian squad.

The Indians ran roughshod over the host Pirates, reeling off 416 yards of total offense en route to a 48-0 halftime advantage. Despite a brief cameo appearance, quarterback Brayden Scott piled up 270 yards on just 10 completions, while now-Oregon State Beaver Zack Robinson caught five passes for a season-high 188 yards and three scores.

Still, Sequoyah head coach Brent Scott isn’t buying the expectation of a blowout.

“We’ve talked to them about this one being a lot different [than last year],” said Scott. “That’s a really well–coached team with some good players.”

The coach of which he speaks is former-Muskogee head coach Matt Hennesy. Hennesy compiled a 34-23 record as the head coach of the Roughers, leading Muskogee to the state semifinals in his first two seasons at the helm.

Last year, Hennesy was often spotted on the practice field at Sequoyah, even offering his assistance from the coaches’ box during the Indians’ playoff loss at Berryhill. Suffice it to say, familiarity abounds.

“He’s a great coach,” said Scott. “He’s 3-0. We know what he brings to the table. He’s causing us lots of fits with the chess match. We don’t want to get into a ball game with him.”

Lost in the madness of a week ago were several notable performances, including a record-setting performance by Brayden Scott.

Scott entered the contest one career touchdown pass behind school record-holder Nathan Stanley (63). He tied the record with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cody Hooper, broke it two minutes later, when Ryan Helsley corralled a tipped 14-yard scoring toss, and extended the mark with a 35-yard pitch and catch to Niko Hammer just prior to halftime.

The latter left him just two touchdowns shy of his father’s prep total of 67.

“First and foremost, (offensive coordinator) Randon Lowe does a heck of a job with preparation and coaching,” said Scott. “He has a heck of an offensive line, as well. Tanner Sheets and all of those guys do a great job. His receivers, Niko and [Ryan] Helsley, those guys do a tremendous job; they catch some tough balls. Cub’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s an elite player. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re held to a high standard.”

Though he made only one catch, Ryan Helsley’s diving collection of Scott’s second touchdown was the second of two high-effort plays that directly impacted the scoreboard. The first, coming when Conquerors wide receiver Cole Taylor broke into the open field for what looked to be an 85-yard touchdown. Helsley, refusing to quit on the play, sprinted from across the field, tracking Taylor down at the 1-yard line and punching the ball through the back of the endzone for a touchback.

“Ryan’s been a tremendous player for us for a long time,” said Scott. “He’s always in the right place. We call him ‘QuickTrip’ because he’s always open. He rarely drops passes, and he’s a guy that’s going to play at the next level. His brother is one of the leading rushers in the state, as well, and its something that both of them work at it in practice. You see them in the game making great plays, but in practice they make great plays every day.”

Ryan’s brother, Kyle Helsley, rushed for 160 yards on 20 carries in the loss to Victory Christian, and now ranks third in Class 3A (16th overall) with 403 yards on just 28 carries. His 14.4 YPC average places him second only to Maud’s Tyler Storment state-wide.

“We put a lot of pressure on Kyle,” said Scott. “He carries the load for us. He has great vision and does a heck of a job. If we’d have played Beggs for four quarters, he’d probably be leading the state in rushing. You can expect great things from both Helsley brothers.”

The Helsleys will lead the Indians into Locust Grove for the league-opener versus an opponent that has already eclipsed its win total from the previous three seasons (2-28) after a 32-7 victory over Stilwell. The forecast calls for morning showers, but for the first week this season, it appears as though the Indians will be unimpeded by wet weather. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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