Originally Published: Oct 8, 2009 7:4 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -- If the rest of the 5A-2 district needed proof, Shawnee happily delivered last week. In an eagerly anticipated game against one of 5A’s most consistent teams, Shawnee squeaked away with a win over Carl Albert’s Titans, 34-31.
Now, at 5-0, the Wolves have the district’s only undefeated record and a share of first place with Guthrie.
Last year’s 8-3 record was nothing to brush off, but this year’s team has made steps forward each and every week. Head coach Billy Brown only returned three players on defense – one of whom was out due to illness until last week – but his young group rallied strong after early difficulties. “The defense keeps getting better and better every week. As long as they continue to do that, we’ll be ok,” said Brown.
The glue holding together the fold was the offense, with a wealth of returners and talented receivers. “We had some kids back on offense that kept us in some games,” the coach said. “Offensively, we got to keep maintaining what we’re doing and adding to it.”
Eleven different players have caught passes for Shawnee this season, giving quarterback Brayle Brown, the coach’s son, plenty of tools with which to operate. Saulyer Saxson – 427 yards, 4 touchdowns – remains the primary target, but Gabrion Frazier, Jordan Acock, Leon Davis, and Nick Berry have all grabbed receptions and all put points on the board.
Now a junior, Brayle has taken on a larger role for a team with larger expectations. “He’s just more comfortable,” said his father. “We’ve put more on his back, with checks and audibles and doing a lot more no-huddle stuff. He’s responded.”
And the team has responded. With a clear goal in mind, Shawnee trudges forward in a less-than-desirable month of October. With Carl Albert already dispatched, Shawnee will also host Ardmore and Guthrie, two teams that combined for 16 wins a year ago.
But first, the Wolves travel to Durant, where they’ll have their paws full again. Daryn Alves is one of the state’s leading rushers from under center, scoring eight touchdowns on roughly 800 yards.
“[He’s] as good an athlete as we’ll see this year,” said Brown. “Everyone I’ve talked to says he’s something else. If he gets loose, I don’t know if we’ll catch him. We’ll have to contain him.”
Tough match-up on the road? Dynamic play-making quarterback?
Sounds like another chance for the Shawnee Wolves to prove themselves.