If you want to know why the Coweta Tigers have been so successful this high school football season, look no further than the play of their defense.
The Tigers (5-0) have allowed just 34 points in their first five games, recording shutouts against Pryor and Glenpool. They also have wins over a pair of currently ranked teams, 5A #7 Carl Albert (44-14) and 4A #2 Wagoner (9-7).
“We return eight starters from last year’s defense that only gave up 13 points per game,” stated Tigers head coach Tim Harper. “The kids who replaced those who graduated are probably better athletes but not as experienced players. They play hard. They’re physical. They stay within our scheme and play team football. If you want to be good, you’ve got to play as a team and that’s what they try to do.”
Leading the charge has been the Tigers’ four-man defensive line. Seniors Carson Flanary and Wyatt Holmes, and juniors Deacon Peterson and Justin Robinson, have given opposing offenses fits with their play this season.
“Our entire defensive line has been phenomenal,” said Harper. “Carson Flanary has been amazing. He’s a three-year starter at defensive end. He had a scoop-and-score last week for about 60 yards. I can’t say enough about him and the commitment he’s had to our program and how hard he’s worked. Wyatt Holmes, he’s 6-3 and about 285 pounds. He’s another great player for us.”
“Deacon Peterson and Justin Robinson are two juniors that are just phenomenal,” added Harper on his other two defensive linemen. “Deacon has a motor that won’t quit. He bleeds orange, there’s no doubt about that.”
The linebackers have performed well for the Tigers as well. Junior Luke Maledon leads the team in tackles, and seniors Noah Loyd and Nate Long have been steady every week.
Rounding out the defense is the talented Tiger secondary. Harper credits senior safety Nathan Maledon as being the team’s defensive captain. Senior cornerbacks Mason Ford and Justis Grammar and junior safety Eain Williams are an experienced group that helped shut down Sapulpa’s passing game last week.
“That’s a tribute to our kids’ work ethic,” claimed Harper. “We are committed to trying to do something special here at Coweta. We’ve got a bunch of great kids. They work hard. Good things happen when you do things right.”
The defense will have its work cut out for it this week when Coweta hosts #4 McAlester in a huge 5A-3 district showdown. The Buffaloes beat the Tigers 33-2 last season and return one of the state’s top players in running back/safety and University of Oklahoma commit Erik McCarty.
“As long as they’ve got McCarty, they’ve got a chance to beat anybody,” said Harper. “He’s their workhorse, he’s their home run hitter, you name it. He’s probably one of the best football players I’ve ever seen in high school. He brings a challenge all his own.”
YurView will televise this Ford Game of the Week McAlester-Coweta showdown live on Thursday night at 7pm on Cox’s YurView Channel 3 and also streamed online.