Like the Chargers, the Buffs lost their starting quarterback earlier in the season. Dalton Wood suffered an ankle injury early in McAlester’s Week 5 game against Shawnee, and he’ll return to the field Friday after a four-game absence.
“We knew he wasn’t going to come back and be in the same shape that he was before,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said of Wood.
“The ankle’s completely healed. ... He’s not limping any.”
Pratt said that although Wood won’t play defense or punt, he will play on offense until the game is so far out of reach that the Buffs can sub in their JV players. Pratt added that Friday’s game will be a good opportunity to get Wood lots of reps against a playoff-caliber team a week before the actual playoffs start.
With Wood back under center, Caden Pratt returns to inside receiver. Caden will also be able to play more defensive downs at safety, allowing the Buffs to give Allen Woodmore and Rhyln Stephens a little more rest.
“He looks really good at inside receiver,” Coach Pratt said of Caden. “It’s way more natural.”
Wood and his receivers will have to work against Memorial’s “3-3-stack” defense, which relies on nose guard Zak Johnson to plug up holes in the middle.
“What it allows us to do is play with one truly lineman-type guy at nose guard and pack the rest of the positions with as much as speed as we can,” Reed said.
Those speedier defenders include middle linebacker Maleek Greenley, whom Reed called “the quarterback of our defense.” The Chargers also have two talented cornerbacks in senior Jalen Smith — another D-I recruit — and sophomore Daquari Royal, who Reed said is tied for most interceptions in school history.