CHOUTEAU, OK —
Chouteau senior Austin Hershberger has been tasked with leading the Wildcats this season. Performances like Friday’s scrimmage at Chouteau are a good indication of why.
Hershberger was the standout contributor on both sides of the ball, racking up 50 yards on 13 carries and a pass deflection and a tackle for loss on defense.
Just about every single one of Hershberger’s yards out of the backfield were after contact. During one play against Foyil, Hershberger moved a half-dozen Panthers six yards before he broke free to score a touchdown, but the play was called dead. Hershberger ran to the sideline after the play — not to take a breather or get a drink of water, but to get a new helmet. His facemask had been partially ripped off.
Unfortunately for Chouteau head coach Mark Jones, he only has one Austin Hershberger. What about the other 10 guys on the field?
“We had some guys step in that normally don’t start but may start,” Jones said.
Jones praised the play of junior lineman Payne King, senior tight end and linebacker Jeremy Pinneke and senior staple Brock Couch. “He made some really good blocks on the line tonight,” Jones said of Couch.
Jones has less than a week to go before the Wildcats begin playing the games that count, starting with Warner at home Thursday. Jones said there are still issues to shore up before the Eagles come calling.
“I was a little bit disappointed on defense,” Jones said. “We weren’t tackling very well, and we’ve got to get better at flying to the ball.”
The team that had the most success against Jones’ defense Friday was Yale. The Bulldogs run a wing set similar to Warner’s attack. For much of the night, the Wildcats contained the attack, but on back-to-back plays, Yale capitalized on holes in the defense to score touchdowns — first on a deep seam route, next on a sweep to the Chouteau right side.
“That wing is exactly what Warner will run against us. I really like going against them because they're pretty physical, and they ran it well. It’s a good look for us for next week,” Jones said.
Senior quarterback Doug Mynahan had a respectable night in the pocket, finishing 8-of-12 for 62 yards and a score and picked up a score on the ground. Mynahan also fumbled a snap, tossed a pick and was sacked twice.
Junior tailback Garrett Grossman did not suit up Friday with a strained muscle, but Jones said “he’ll be back next week. For sure.”
On the junior varsity side, freshman wideout Trevor Searcy, who is turning heads at safety for the varsity, stole the show with a 40-yard touchdown catch from Justin Chupp on the Wildcats’ first offensive play. Chupp and Searcy hooked up three times for 68 yards.
The other Hershberger on the roster, Corbin, had a highlight-reel sack for the junior varsity.
Quinton was the fourth school to participate in the scrimmage.