McALESTER — Having reached the 2013 Class 5A state championship and then graduated several seniors essential to that success, the 2014 McAlester Buffaloes will enter their summer preseason needing to fill several holes.
The Buffs were at the University of Tulsa on Sunday through Tuesday for Bill Blankenship Tulsa Football Team Camp. And if the camp was any indication, the 2014 Buffs will once again be a force to be reckoned with.
“This is probably one of the best camps we’ve been at, especially the first day,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said Monday. “Our first day was really, really physical, and we wanted to come out with that mentality.”
The three-day camp featured a wide range of competitions and drills. Pratt said some drills limited teams to running certain kinds of plays — inside runs, screen passes, etc. — while others separated the linemen from skill-position players like wide receivers and quarterbacks,
The teams finally came back together for the Team Competition on Monday night. While in the first competition teams started at the 20-yard line and had four downs to get a first down or score, in the second they started at the 10 and had just four downs to score.
The Monday-afternoon session had featured similar competitions. The Buffs’ varsity saw limited action during the afternoon session, and it paid off that evening.
“We only lost one in the competition,” Pratt said Tuesday. “We played 10 teams, and we only lost one in overtime.
“We won the most games by far.”
With defenders only needing to tag receivers to end a play, Pratt said the Buffs couldn’t run the ball up the middle Monday night. Instead they went with outside runs and screen passes, giving their receivers more free space with which to work.
McAlester also won both games in the afternoon seven-on-seven competition in which teams started at the 45-yard line and tried to score or pick up 15 yards for a first down. Buffs defensive back Andrew McBride intercepted a pass on Casady School’s first possession, then Buffs quarter Dalton Wood found Rashard Rushing for back-to-back receptions.