Versatile Snodgrass steps in at QB, helps deliver 28-6 victory over McLoud
When members of the Kingfisher High School football team needed a leader to speak to the board of education in support of their coaches in August, they looked to Slade Snodgrass.
When the team - riddled with a myriad of injuries to key players - needed someone to step up last Friday night and help carry the Jackets to a victory, they turned to Snodgrass yet again.
Both times, he delivered. The senior played quarterback - for the first time in his life - and delivered a monumental performance as KHS pushed past McLoud 28-6 at home.
Snodgrass was pushed into the role as starting quarterback Jax Sternberger was out with an abdominal injury, one of nine KHS players unable to suit up for the game.
The list included players who’ve now been out multiple games - Noah Friesen, Kyle Borelli, Tanner Parker, Omar Ramos, Dallen Barton and Aaron DeLaTorre - some of whom are lost for the season.
Starting lineman Wrigley Kennedy and wide receiver/ defensive back Cade Covalt added their names to the list
Both times, he delivered. during the week.
That left coaches playing musical chairs with the lineup and when the music stopped, Snodgrass was the quarterback.
“I was pretty nervous at the beginning of the week because everyone was depending on me,” Snodgrass said.
“But as the week went on, I got used to the position and the nerves began to subside.”
He also realized offensive coordinators Stuart Purintun and Derek Patterson were going to rely more on his legs than his arm.
“I had faith that my coaches prepared me well for the game and that gave me a lot of confidence coming into it,” he said.
That confidence turned into a performance that saw him carry it 26 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
The scores were both in the first quarter, one from 10 yards out and the other from 41 yards as the Jackets built a 12-0 lead.
It stayed there until late in the second quarter when McLoud’s Cirilo Valles broke loose for a 76-yard touchdown run to pull the Redskins within 12-6 at halftime.
But then Snodgrass delivered big on the defensive side.
On McLoud’s opening possession of the half, Snodgrass stepped in front of a Caleb Murray pass and returned the interception 44 yards for a touchdown.
The Redskins never threatened again.
“That was a huge play,” said KHS head coach Jeff Myers. “He delivered them for us all night.”
Myers and his staff fretted much of the week as the injuries piled up and forced lineup changes until almost literally kickoff.
At game’s end, Myers was able to relax for the first time in a week.
“You put a plan in place, but you never know for sure how it’s going to work out,” Myers said. “The guys stepped up this week and brought us a win we needed.”
It was evident from the start the Jackets were going to call Snodgrass’ number often.
Snodgrass ran it seven times - including the two scores - in the first quarter.
By halftime, he’d toted it 14 times for 132 yards.
Still, the late touchdown by McLoud had the Redskins within a score and they were getting the ball to start the second half.
“We still felt good,” Myers said. “We had been moving the ball on offense. Our line was doing a really good job of moving them and with the exception of that one play, our defense was doing its job.”
In fact, the defense scored twice on the night.
The Snodgrass pick-six gave KHS a 19-6 lead and it stayed there until the fourth.
The Jackets had McLoud pinned deep when Jake Reagan seemingly sacked Murray in the end zone for a safety.
However, officials gave Murray forward progress at the 1. It didn’t matter.
On the next snap, Reagan and Isaac Long crashed on Valles in the end zone to get the safety and push the lead to 21-6.
Long had his best game of the season as the senior delivered a team-high 11 tackles. Reagan was in on six tackles.
Alan Muñoz and Snodgrass had seven tackles apiece.
The Redskins had 161 yards of total offense with nearly half coming on their scoring play.
McLoud’s 26 other run plays netted 54 yards and the Redskins managed just seven first downs.
Kingfisher’s defense forced a turnover on downs deep in McLoud territory with just under 6:00 to play.
That resulted in an eventual 1-yard touchdown run by Alan Muñoz with 1:49 left.
For good measure, Snodgrass snagged his second interception of the game on the Redskins’ next possession and the Jackets kneeled the final few snaps of the game.
Snodgrass was asked to throw it five times in the first half and completed two of them for a modest seven yards.
No passes were attempted in the second half.
After his big defensive play to open the third quarter, the Jackets kept pounding away.
Alan Muñoz got nine carries and had 39 yards and the team ran for 224 yards on 48 attempts.
Muñoz and Snodgrass got their yards behind a line that looked completely different than the one that suited up even two weeks before.
It included a pair of freshmen as Bert Haag was starting for the second time and Landon Rempe for the first time.
“I thought they both played pretty good, especially considering their lack of experience at the varsity level,” Purintun said.
Snodgrass stood before the school board and about 100 others in attendance in early August, not long after a lawsuit had been filed against Myers and other coaches, some of whom are still on staff and others who are not.
“We as a football team and students thought it was very prudent that we came as a whole to support our coaches,” he said.
Later, Snodgrass added about Myers: “(He) has served as a great role model and father figure to some inside and outside the football atmosphere. He shows concern and compassion toward his players and pushes us to be our best.”
Myers didn’t ask Snodgrass to speak on his behalf at that meeting, but he did call on him to deliver in Week 6.
“We put a lot on him this week, but we knew he could handle it,” Myers said of Snodgrass. “He’s such a tough kid and he proved that tonight.”
Snodgrass rarely, if ever, left the field.
“During the game, I was only a little gassed after big runs, but other than that I was feeling good,” he said. “It helps a lot that we run during the week to get in shape for those situations.”
As the Jackets enter the short week of preparation - they play Thursday at Perkins-Tryon - just how many of the injured Jackets return to action is still up in the air.
Whether Snodgrass returns to wide receiver or is tasked with playing quarterback again, he’ll do so with a new respect for the position.
“I understand how many responsibilities playing quarterback brings and how easy it can be to mess up here and there,” he said.
“Playing there allowed me to gain a lot more appreciation for all quarterbacks.”