When Guthrie travels to Enid and takes on the Plainsmen for the opening week Oklahoma high school football, it will not have a bearing on the playoff run. However, both programs will be gearing up for a Friday night win.
The Bluejays travel to D. Bruce Selby Stadium for a 7 p.m. kick. The game can be heard on Hot 93.7 FM. beginning at 6:30.
Wins have been tough to come by for the Plainsmen, who this season moves up to the state’s largest classification (6A-1). Enid has stalled out at 3-7 records for three straight years in 6A-II and has not seen a winning season since 2010.
The bump in the schedule with the likes of Broken Arrow, Jenks, Westmoore, Stillwater and Edmond Santa Fe may not help the Plainsmen’s cause.
Despite making the playoffs for the 13th straight season, the Bluejays are coming off their first losing season since 1999 after going 5-6 in 2017.
As you can see, a win for either program can go a long way.
Both programs kept their scrimmages last week plain vanilla as not to give away any game secrets away, despite going up against each other six times in the past eight seasons.
Guthrie has the advantage in the most recent of times against Enid with a 4-2 record, but the all-time series record is stuck at 4-4.
Enid’s win over the Jays last season (34-23), the Plainsmen talented running back Will Phillips suffered season ending injuries (broken fibula, broken ankle and ligament damage) after being tackled from behind by a Guthrie defensive back.
Before the injury, Phillips, who is picking up small Division I and Division II offers, had six carries for 85 yards in what appeared was going to be a big night for him. Phillips has since healed and will be the primary focus that the Jays defense must attempt to contain.
“I think we would have won at least three more games,” head coach Steve Hayes told The Oklahoman. “He is such a complete, dynamic player. He is an incredible receiver. He is great runner between the tackles. He’s got good speed in the open field. He is a really good blocker. He is as complete a skills football player as there is in the whole state.”
The Plainsmen will look to add depth at the running back position with Phillips’ younger brother, Telin Phillips. Telin saw plenty of work late in the 2017 season and finished with 439 yards on 78 carries.
The Phillips duo will run behind a veteran offense line, including four-year starter Colton Dodd.
The up-tempo Enid offense will showcase a new quarterback, or two.
The Plainsmen lost their starting quarterback after Mason Skrimager moved away. To complicate matters, both backups are also no longer with the program.
Sophomore Blake Priest and junior Titan Stephens have been taking snaps over the summer and have not been able to separate from each other. Hayes says it may take a few games to determine the outcome of the postion.
If not at quarterback, Stephens may be seen line up at wide receiver. In 2017, he hauled in 25 catches for 210 yards.
On the other side of the football, the Plainsmen will be working in eight new starters.
Coach Hayes will once again look toward senior linebacker Hayden Priest for leadership and results. In his junior campaign, Priest had 99 tackles.