Washington finds itself in a familiar spot...the State Championship game to conclude the 2022 season.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Chad Richison Stadium on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma.
The Falcons were tripped up in their season opener to powerful Heritage Hall, 35-28, but have since ripped off 13 straight victories since to reach the finals.
Millwood is always big, strong and fast with athletes all over the field.
They will operate out of the spread on offense featuring Ohio University commit Ricky Hunt, Jr., at running back and sensational sophomore receiver Jaden Nickens, who already holds D-1 scholarship offers.
When the Falcons are on defense they use a four man front line.
Saturday’s showdown for the Gold Ball will be the fourth meeting of the two schools since 2009. The last time they met in the finals was 2017 when Millwood defeated the mistake prone Warriors.
“They are very solid on defense,” Washington Head Coach Brad Beller reports on this year’s edition of Falcon football. “They are very aggressive, physical and fast. They make a living running to the football.”
Beller said it is imperative for his linemen on both sides of the ball control the line of scrimmage.
On offense they will run hitch routes and some screens but they really want to go deep to their wide receivers.
“They want you to cover deep so they can pound you with Hunt. He’s just a really good football player. He’s a solid runner and a good teammate. He does whatever needs to be done.
“We have to be consistent on offense and not give up big plays when we’re on defense,” Beller continued.
This is Washington’s third straight trip to the title game and fourth in the last six years.
“They have worked hard to earn the right to be here,” the coach said. “They’ve earned their shot. They just need to seize the moment and enjoy the ride.”
The Warriors are back in the championship game on the heels of their 49-14 dismantling of Jones last week in the State Semifinals.
“We just had a great team performance from top to bottom,” Beller said. “I think our offense executed on all but two possessions. We were on point and blocked well up front. We protected the football and caught the ball well. We were just so well balanced.”
Seven different Warriors rushed the rock and quarterback Major Cantrell spread the passing around to five different receivers. He was 11-15 for 183 yards through the air.
But where he really picked it up was running the football. He rushed 11 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
Cole Scott finished with 19 carries for 144 yards and four touchdowns, the fourth his longest scoring run of the night, a 56-yard beaut.
“Our offensive line controlled the line and our wide receivers and slots blocked well all through the night. I feel like our offense is hitting on all cylinders. After the OCS game in the second round we knew we had to get things going and we’ve been rolling since then in high gear,” the coach said.
Beller said his defense was playing on its heels from the second half of the first quarter to the beginning of the second.
“We were playing not to mess up and not playing to win,” Beller said. “Then our defensive leader Hayden Milner really got going. They couldn’t block him all night. He had the game of his career, completely dominating.”
The senior finished the contest with 10 tackles, five tackles for loss, four quarterback sacks and caused a fumble.
“He had a heck of a night and he couldn’t be more deserving,” Beller said. “He suffered a broken collarbone in the spring and reinjured it in week three. He has worked hard to come back and is playing at a very high level right now.
“Once he got going the rest (of the defenders) followed,” Beller said.
Ben Vaughn registered 11 tackles and recovered a fumble followed by Jaxon Hendrix who had eight tackles and an interception. Keller Howard made seven stops and the Warriors got six tackles each from Hudson Howard, Cole Beller and Jake Coles.
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