GROVE- After last week’s heartbreaking loss to the Wagoner Bulldogs, the Grove Ridgerunners will attempt to refocus on district play beginning with this week’s match up against the Pryor Tigers.
Like Grove, the Tigers, under head coach J.R. Winton are 2-1 following a 14-7 win last week over Miami. Also like the Ridgerunners, the Tigers have used a ball-control, run-heavy offense that also looks to get big plays out of the passing game. Running backs Dakota Cox and Austin Bruner have combined for 90 carries through three games this season. Cox has gotten the bulk of the work, gaining 281 yards on 65 carries.
Quarterback Christian Considine has only completed 17 of his 47 pass attempts on the season, but with those 17 completions he has racked up 362 yards and four touchdowns. Receiver Shelby Kyle has been Considine’s big-play target so far, averaging 42.8 yards on four catches with two touchdowns. Wide receiver/defensive back Blake Heston has been a big contributor for the Tigers on both sides of the ball, catching nine passes for 127 yards while also getting two interceptions.
Defensively linebackers Zeke Stump and Shelly Kyle lead the Tigers. Stump has 41 tackles and two fumble recoveries on the season, while Kyle has racked up 27 tackles.
In spite of last week’s loss to the Bulldogs, the Ridgerunners are hoping to carry their early season success into district play. Having scored 95 points through their first three games, Grove is one of the highest scoring teams in 5A through the early going.
Much of the offensive firepower has been contributed by workhorse running back Buck Maples. Maples has 344 yards on 51 carries so far this season, and his 30 points on five touchdowns puts him in the top-five in scoring in 5A.
Quarterback Adam Steffenson has also been a solid contributor, throwing for 254 yards and five touchdowns so far.
An often-overlooked part of Grove’s early-season success has been the punting of Bobby Harris. Harris has averaged nearly 41 yards a punt this season, and many of his punts in last week’s game kept the Wagoner offense in poor field position.
The Ridgerunners will kick off against the Tigers at 7:30 Friday night in Pryor. The Ridgerunners will be competing in a 5A district for the first time since 2005.