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September is in the past; BA-Union 'different' teams

Tiger coach doesn't expect another 14-7 game

Sanchez Banks heads to end zone for one of his three touchdowns against Putnam City, last Friday.

Don’t expect 14-7 – that was the score in Broken Arrow’s victory over Union on Sept. 4 – to be the final tally when the Tigers and Redskins meet in the Class 6A-I State Quarterfinal Friday night at Union’s Tuttle Stadium.

“Both teams are so much different than what we were,” Tiger head coach David Alexander said. “It won’t look like the week two game. I anticipate the score being quite a bit higher.”

After racking up 50 points in its opening game of the season, the Broken Arrow offense stalled slightly, before rebounding with a 46-point effort on Homecoming against Edmond Memorial. In its last three games, Broken Arrow has averaged more than 40 points per contest.

Union’s offense turned to an explosive ground game in October, running off victories of 66-10, 62-12, 50-25, 48-7 and 55-0.

“They have kind of figured out who they are,” Alexander said. “They’ve moved some people around. They’ve changed quarterbacks. They’re moving the fullback around and using some tight ends.”

Union’s potent offense features A.J. Green, who rushed for 138 yards in the first Tiger-Redskin matchup. Stopping the run will be a priority for BA.

“Our front seven did a good job the first time of containing the running backs and that’s what it’s going to take this time,” Alexander said. “They’re going to run the ball way more than they are going to throw it. They have some running backs that are special and we’re going to have to corral them and keep them from getting many big plays.

“We’re going to do enough stuff defensively, that if we can contain the run enough and force them into a third and six or a third in seven then we’re going to have an advantage there. Our secondary has been playing fantastic. So, it’s going to come down to our defense on first down. We need to keep them from consistently getting six or seven yards on first down. That will be the key.”

Offensively, the Tigers sport an explosive run game powered by Maurion Horn’s 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns and Sanchez Banks’ 818 yards and 17 TD. But where Alexander believes the Tigers offensive advantage lies is in the passing game.

“We have three receivers that can make plays and affect the game,” he said.

In the passing game, Jake Raines, who has thrown for 1,593 yards and 13 touchdowns, has an arsenal of weapons at his choosing. It starts with RJ Spears-Jennings, who has 39 catches for 807 yards and five touchdowns. Keyon Barnett and Jaiell Talley have 17 and 14 catches, respectively and both have more than 200 receiving yards. Throw in Horn’s 17 catches and 234 receiving yards and the choices are many for the senior quarterback.

There is a caveat to the success of the Tiger run game, however.

“We have an advantage out there if we can handle their defensive end,” Alexander said. “They have a couple of defensive lineman who are really good. One of them is a very special player. We have to keep No. 21 from controlling the football game, because he is capable of doing that.

“It’s a pretty even ball game.”

Even? Yes. Low scoring? Even Coach Alexander doesn’t expect that.