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Coweta depending heavy on their defense

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To say the Coweta Tigers have turned their program around would not be good enough to say.

Photo By: Christy Wheeland Coweta American

Tigers head coach Bubba Burcham, a former Oklahoma Sooner offensive lineman for the 2000 National Champions, is currently in his third season and is enjoying his most successful season in his early coaching career.

A season ago, the Tigers were in winter sports mode this time last year after finishing the 2009 season with a 2-8 record. What a difference a year makes. The Tigers will come into Guthrie’s Jelsma Stadium winners of six in a row and will go as far as their defense.

“We hang our hat on our defense,” Burcham told the Tulsa World following their 13-7 win last week over Bishop Kelley in the first round.

Bishop Kelley’s offense was stalled out twice in the final five minutes of the game, including two plays from the 1-yard line on third and fourth downs with less than two minutes to play. Coweta has not allowed more than 7-points in their last four games. In fact, five teams total have been able to score at least 14-points or more in a game.

Coweta has two losses on the season to Wagoner (11-0), 35-21, in week one and Tulsa East Central (10-1), 24-21, in week five. The remaining eight Tigers opponents were a combine 30-53.

The Tigers are led offensively and defensively by senior Clint Keel (6-0, 195). Keel, a running back, has rushed for over 900 yards and is among the tops in 5A with 21 scores. Last week on a sloppy field, Keel rushed 17 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard score. On defense, the linebacker has piled up 68 tackles for the 4-3 defense.

Sophomore Jakeem Johnson (5-10,190), who appears to be the feature back next season, has a respectable 8.4 yards per carry on 84-touches to total 706 rushing yards.

Senior Trevor Sumpter (6-2, 185) serves as the quarterback and went over 1,000 yards passing last week. Sumpter has completed 94-of-148 passes with eight passing scores and six interceptions. He will also run the ball in the Tiger’s spread offense.

Coweta’s defense will start six seniors for a squad that allows just 12 points a game.

“They have Kentrell Brothers who is a big time guy, so we know we are going to have to stop him. That’s what we will practice on this week,” Burcham told the Tulsa World.

The Friday night meeting between Guthrie and Coweta will be the first encounter for Jays head coach Rafe Watkins. The game can be heard on Triple Play Sports Radio 105.1 FM, 1020 AM, 1580 AM, and streaming on Guthrie Sports Page. Pre-game coverage starts at 7:00.

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