McALESTER — Having already clinched their district and two home playoff games, the McAlester Buffaloes can’t improve their standing when they head to Tulsa to face the Memorial Chargers on Friday.
The Chargers, however, will take the field knowing a win means a trip to the playoffs.
“Any time you play your last game and it means something, that’s a good thing,” Memorial coach Ryan Reed said Friday.
The Chargers are 6-3 overall, 4-2 in the district. Reed said the team lost its starting quarterback in Week 2 against Tulsa Edison, forcing senior Keith Driver to take over the position.
“We kind of had to change our identity a little bit offensively, and they rolled with it,” Reed said.
“We didn’t change our scheme. We just became a little more run-based, option-based, offensively.”
That run-based offense has benefited greatly from senior running back Mikequan Deane. Reed said Deane, one of the leading rushers in 5A, has been by recruited by several Division I colleges, including Michigan State and New Mexico State.
“He’s a big kid, he plays basketball, he’s probably 6-3, 270 pounds,” Reed said of Deane.
“If he gets loose, he’s loose.”
Keyuante Austin has been another strong running back for the Chargers. Reed credited both runners’ success to Memorial’s offensive line, which center Cody Baker has pulled together into a formidable unit.
“Mikequan has had a 437-yard rushing game, and Keyuante’s had a couple 300-yard rushing games, and they’re able to have those because of our guys up front,” Reed said.
Reed worked previously as Memorial’s offensive line coach and then offensive coordinator before taking over as head coach this year. He said his offense, even when it’s run-based, operates out of a spread, because “that’s what I cut my teeth on 10 years ago.”