Washington’s 17-14 come-from-behind victory over Holland Hall last Friday night sets up a showdown with No. 1 Metro Christian this Friday.
Kickoff with the Pirates is at 7 p.m. for the pair of 12-0 teams at Metro Christian.
The Pirates operate out of a spread formation on offense and have arguably one of the best quarterbacks in Oklahoma in Asher Link.
He led all classes in the state last year in passing yards.
“He does a great job of hitting the short routes but he also can hit the screens and the deep balls,” Washington Head Coach Brad Beller said. “He’s a big, tall kid with a strong arm. He has great accuracy and is also the team’s leading rusher.”
Link was a state finalist in the 100 meters at the State Track Meet last spring and will present a myriad of challenges for the Warrior defenders.
When the Pirates are on defense they base out of an Okie 5-2.
“But they are very multiple,” Beller notes. “They move their front around. They have very big, strong kids that are very quick. They are also very athletic at the linebacker position.”
Beller said his squad will have to tackle well in space and try to get pressure on Link.
“We can’t let him just sit back there and pick us to death. We have to put pressure on him because they like to stretch their routes and get vertical getting their athletes in space.”
Last year the Warriors were seven yards shy of getting the winning score so they are very interested in making up those seven yards this year.
Last Friday night at Reed Field the Warriors overcame countless errors to advance in the 17-14 victory.
With 5:14 left in the final period, Washington trailed the Dutch 14-10 and hadn’t really threatened in the second half.
But Washington, ranked No. 3, put together a drive that ended with an 18-yard game winning touchdown pass from Devin Orr to Kobe Scott.
“We knew we had time for the entire playbook to be open,” Beller said when his club took over at the 5:14 mark.
“We had shot ourselves in the foot all night offensively. We just told the kids to make plays when they come to you. We had been really good until the Red Zone.
“The biggest thing was we just wanted to pass protect so we could get Kobe in isolation. We struggled blocking (Owen) Ostroski, but Devin threw a great ball and Kobe made and even better catch,” Beller said.
“Give Holland Hall all the credit in the world,” Beller said. “But we had a lot of busted assignments and didn’t play all that well. I think we showed a lot of resilience. We showed we have a lot of fight in us even though we didn’t play our best.
“We had a lot of fight and grit but we left a lot of points on the field,” the coach said.
The Warriors amassed 423 yards of total offense yet only had 17 points on the scoreboard.
“We did a lot of good things, but there is a lot we can be better at,” Beller said.
The coach said on defense sans two deep pass plays his club played pretty well.
“We got beat on a hitch and go and once on a fade route. Other than that is was kinda’ bend but don’t break,” he said.
One of those don’t break moments came when Emitt Wilk went up and battled for an interception in the Warrior end zone.
“I thought Logan Lile was a handful for their offensive line,” Beller said. “And Alberto Aguirre and Gavin Grimsey did a good job. It was an overall team effort holding them to 14 points.”
Holland Hall had been averaging 40 points a game offensively.
Beller pointed to the play of his offensive line that opened up lanes for Lance Spaulding.
Spaulding rushed the pigskin 36 times for 262 total yards. Orr passed for 141 yards and the winning touchdown while rushing for 43 yards.
Those linemen Beller was referring to were Justin Simmons, Seth Tague, Conner Bruce, Logan Lile and Luke Steele.
“At the end we were trying to do clock management but we weren’t doing a great job of bleeding off time,” he said.
It was good enough. Win and advance.