The Guthrie Bluejays begin their 2017 season with the Enid Plainsmen in Week Zero. The Jays are hopeful to continue some current streaks.
Bruce Selby Stadium (801 W. Iowa) will showcase the Jays and Plainsmen with a 7 p.m. kick on Friday. The game can be heard on Hot 93.7 FM and world-wide on Guthrie Sports Page and Guthrie News Page beginning at 6:30 with the pregame show. Listen on Tunein.
The Jays, who finished 6-5 a year ago, have won four straight in the series, including last year’s 22-19 home win. Since 2010, Guthrie has won four of the five meetings with the Plainsmen.
Also in the past five season openers, Guthrie has won four.
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If the Jays are looking to continue that momentum they will highly likely have to keep one of the best athletes in the state at bay.
Will Phillips, a junior, has proven to be talented on both offense and defense, but Guthrie fans saw him do something many had not seen in a long time during last year’s game – return a punt (38 yards) for a touchdown.
Phillips finished the season with 1,108 rushing yards on 197 carries and seven touchdowns. He added 15 catches for 149 yards and last week during a scrimmage with Bixby took a screen pass in for a 65-yard score.
Jays head coach Kelly Beeby, who begins his fourth season as the head man and 14th year in Guthrie, says Phillips will run behind a “massive” offensive line.
The line will be led by center Austin Whitehead as one of the two seniors up front.
Mason Skrimager takes over the quarterback duties and had a coming out party last year against Deer Creek by completing 19 of 24 passes and four scores. The junior finished 2016 with a completion rate of nearly 59 percent in the up-tempo spread attack.
His primary throwing target will be senior Lincoln Sefcik. The senior wide-out hauled in 25 catches and six scores a year ago. Last week in the Bixby scrimmage, he brought in a 35-yard touchdown on a rare scrimmage fake play on fourth down.
In that scrimmage against the three-time 6A-II state champions, Enid head coach Steve Hayes says it was the best scrimmage he has seen as he’s set to begin his third season.
Enid has struggled for wins in recent time with 16 wins in the past five seasons.
“They continue to improve under Coach Hayes,” Beeby said. “It will be a big challenge for us. We have to try and keep their offense off the field.”