Cascia looks to stop another ground threat
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Friday, December 09, 2011
12/09/11 at 3:54 AM
Related stories: Three storylines for Cascia vs. Anadarko.
Key matchup: Anadarko’s Sheldon Wilson vs. Cascia’s Blue Swarm.
For the second straight week, Cascia Hall will face an elite running back.
Last week, the Commandos held Oklahoma City Heritage Hall's Barry J. Sanders to 100 yards on 18 carries and stuffed him on a goal-line stand in the final minute of a 14-7 victory.
On Friday, they battle Anadarko and state leading rusher Sheldon Wilson for the Class 3A title at Boone Pickens Stadium.
"We limited (Heritage Hall's) great players to underneath their averages, and we want to do the same thing to Anadarko's great running back," Cascia Hall junior Luke Moellers said. "He's definitely one of the best."
Last week against Berryhill, Wilson scored four times to set the state record for most touchdowns in a season (59). He is one touchdown from tying Pawnee's Gerald Jones for rushing touchdowns in a season. Jones had 54 in 2004.
"He shows up to practice every day," Anadarko coach Kent Jackson said. "He hasn't missed a practice since seventh grade, and that sets the example for the rest of the team."
Wilson's success also can be credited to an offensive line that had four returning starters this year and to a set of good blocking receivers.
"Our line gets him the first 8 yards, and the receivers get him the rest," Jackson said. "And our quarterback (Tyler Melton) does a great job with audibles and getting us into the right plays."
Melton has passed for 1,585 yards and 20 TDs for the undefeated Warriors.
"He can make plays throwing the ball when teams stack the box against us," Jackson said.
For Cascia, the game plan remains the same, coach Joe Medina said.
"No one's going to try to trick anybody for this team," he said. "You just do what you've done all year."
What the Commandos have done all year is overwhelm offenses, limiting them to fewer than eight points a game.
"Defense wins championships - we know that," Medina said. "That's the way we build our program. ...
"There's not a lot of numbers on the statistical leaderboards, but we play great team defense and that's what carries us through the tough games."
The Blue Swarm defense gained even more confidence last Friday. On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 41 seconds left, Conner Sherwood, Bryce Carter and Hunter Hart stopped Sanders inches from the end zone.
As thrilling as that was, the Commandos quickly put the win behind them.
"After probably one of the most exciting games I've played, that next Sunday I was right in here watching Anadarko with the coaches while they were doing (the) scouting report," Hart said. "I'm ready."
Cascia will seek its fourth state title in five seasons after losing in last year's quarterfinals.
"We play to win championships here," Medina said. "Whether we lose it or when we were in that streak where we won three straight, that's always the goal. I think that's the motivating factor of what keeps getting us back here."
A talented group of seniors will try to conclude their career with a third state championship.
"Coach Medina says we have to be proud but not satisfied," Hart said. "I think a lot of guys are proud in our victory over Heritage Hall, but we're not satisfied with what we've accomplished yet."
Class 3A championship
No. 2 Cascia Hall vs. No. 5 Anadarko
At Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater 7:30 p.m. Friday • TV: Cox-3
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452
Cascia Hall's Hunter Hart is a key offensive and defensive threat for the Commandos. JOEY JOHNSON/For the Tulsa World
Cascia Hall's Conner Sherwood (left) is tackled by Berryhill's Logan Million during an Oct. 6 game at Cascia Hall. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World