KHS too much for Chisholm in 45-8 victory
The Kingfisher coaching staff had a lot more of them at their disposal than Chisholm last Friday night.
The result was a 45-8 home victory for the Jackets in their final non-district game.
“We felt going in there were some spots on the field we could take advantage of and we did for the most part,” Jeff Myers said as his team improved to 2-1 heading into an off week.
Cade Stephenson accounted for four touchdowns, Jarret Birdwell passed the century mark in receiving yards and Jax Sternberger had another stellar night at quarterback as the Jackets outgained their visitors by 225 yards.
“I thought our defense was sound all night long and never did give up the big play,” Myers said. “And then our offense was able to turn around and keep delivering the big plays the defense wouldn’t give up.”
Sternberger was 16 of 21 in his third career start.
Nine of his completions went for 15 or more yards and he threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns overall.
“I thought he was way more poised than I expected him to be,” Chisholm coach Joey Reinart said.
“His accuracy was really good.”
Five of Sternberger’s passes went to Birdwell, his tallest receiver at 6-foot-4.
Birdwell turned them into 128 yards.
He caught a 21-yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter to give KHS a 21-0 lead.
He added a 61-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth to give the Jackets their final points.
“He’s such a dangerous weapon because of his size,” Myers said. “But a lot of people underestimate his athleticism and even the speed he showed on that last touchdown.”
Few opponents have Stephenson’s speed - or power for that matter.
Both were on display less than halfway through the first quarter when he ran around the right side of the Kingfisher line, powered through a would-be tackler and sent him to the turf and raced in for a 55-yard score.
That came after an 8-yard TD run by the senior on Kingfisher’s first drive of the night.
“Our young guys just weren’t ready for his speed,” Reinart said.
After Chisholm cut Kingfisher’s lead to 21-8 about midway through the second quarter, Stephenson answered with an 11-yard scoring run on the Jackets’ next drive then added a 16- yard TD reception before the end of the half.
By halftime, Stephenson had rushed for 139 yards.
He actually lost five yards on his lone second-half carry, but still ended his night with 134 yards on 12 carries. He added another 31 receiving yards.
Through three games, Stephenson averages more than a first down per carry.
“He showed a lot on his second touchdown,” Myers said. “I think they felt they had the angle on him, which they did. But he just powered through everyone and then they couldn’t catch him after that.
“He’s so versatile that it makes it tough for other teams to attempt to defend him.”
The Jackets got another big play on special teams, this time from Aaron Delatorre.
The sophomore kicker booted a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter.
“I think that will help down the road,” Myers said. “That will give him the confidence that he can make a big kick.”
While Chisholm came in an underdog, the 2A Longhorns aren’t strangers to success. They have just one district loss since the beginning of the 2015 season and reached the state semifinals in 2015 and 2016.
But they struggled to get anything going consistently against Kingfisher’s defense.
Their first three drives saw them run just seven plays, punt twice and fumble once.
After their touchdown, it was a series of punts or turnovers on downs.
The Jackets gave up less than 3 yards a rushing attempt and only 63 passing yards.
“They’re a good team and I think they’ll continue to get better,” Myers said. “They like to play physical football, but I thought our guys were prepared for it.”
Slade Snodgrass led the team with nine tackles from his linebacker spot.
Stephenson added eight and Dynton Townsend seven.
Harrison Evans, Alan Muñoz, Tate Taylor and T.J. Parker, who also recovered a fumble in the first quarter, had six tackles apiece.
Both teams wore special jerseys to commemorate the occasion of Freedom Football Night.
Special events during the week and that night benefited the Warriors For Freedom Foundation.
Former KHS head and assistant football coach Larry Hart, a military veteran, served as an honorary captain for the Jackets.
Several of his family members - many of whom have served or are currently serving in the military - were on hand.<
“Coach Hart is someone we respect a lot around here,” Myers said. “Not only for the coach and role model he was at Kingfisher for so long, but also for his military service.”
The Jackets enter their break largely healthy.
“There’s nothing major that we haven’t already been dealing with,” Myers said. “We’ll use the time to try to sharpen up while still healing up with the ones who need it.”
They return to action Sept. 25 at Bridge Creek in their first of seven District 3A-1 games.
“Those first couple of games are ones we should be able to take care of business thoroughly,” Myers said. “But we can’t look past them. We need to continue to work on ourselves and keep getting better each week.”