Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 21, 2012

High school football preview capsules

(Games are at 7:30 p.m., unless noted otherwise)

Grove at Tahlequah

Where: Doc Wadley Stadium (at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Allen Road).

Radio: Game will air live locally on KEOK, FM-102.1.

Nicknames: Tahlequah Tigers; Grove Ridgerunners.

Coaches: Tahlequah (Brad Gilbert, 1-9, second season); Grove (Dennis Millican, 55-29, eighth season).

Records: Tahlequah 0-3; Grove 1-2. First District 5A-4 game for both teams.

Rankings: Neither team is ranked in Class 5A.

Series record: Tahlequah leads 7-6-1.

Last meeting: In 2011, Grove and Tahlequah closed out their seasons with a 26-24 Ridgerunner victory.

Last week: Sallisaw 38, Tahlequah 20; Wagoner 51, Grove 14.

News to know: Grove finished sixth in 5A-4 last season, with Tahlequah a spot behind in seventh. ... Tahlequah is ranked 29th, out of 32 teams, in scoring defense in Class 5A. The Tigers are allowing an average of 41 points per contest. ... Grove is giving up an average of 30.3 points per game.

Players to watch

Tahlequah: David Dick (QB), Mason McMillan (RB).

— Junior quarterback David Dick suffered a rough outing (7 of 26 with four interceptions) in the Tigers' season opener at Fort Gibson. But he's improved as the weeks have progressed. Last week against Sallisaw, he completed 8 of 17 passes for 139 yards with only one INT. He's also found comfort in wide receiver, Tyler Eisensmith.

— McMillan continues to impress in Tahlequah's running game, averaging 147.3 yards and 26.7 carries per game. Against both Fort Gibson and Sallisaw, he had 100 rushing yards by halftime.

Grove: Jake Spychalski (QB), Benny Steffenson (RB).

— Spychalski, a junior, had completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes (29 of 61) and has tossed four interceptions, but he has thrown for 412 yards and three touchdowns.

— Steffenson, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior tailback, is gaining an average of 7.6 yards per carry this season. He has 381 yards and four touchdowns on 50 carries in three games.

Looking ahead: On Sept. 28, Tahlequah will embark on a trip to Claremore for its first 5A-4 road game. Grove will take on Collinsville.

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