Barry Lewis: East Central's Youngblood determined to win state football title
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, November 05, 2012
11/05/12 at 4:13 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: East Central going for gold
East Central's versatile senior Deontre Youngblood celebrated winning two football championships in three days last week.
On Thursday, Youngblood caught three touchdown passes to help the Cardinals defeat Pryor 42-7 and clinch the District 5A-4 title. Two days later, he helped coach the East Tulsa Trojans Maroon team to a 19-6 victory over the Mabee Red Shield Cowboys in an American Youth Football Association of Oklahoma fifth-grade league title game.
Youngblood is looking for a third championship this fall - a gold ball for winning a Class 5A state title. East Central enters the postseason at No. 1 in the Tulsa World's Class 5A rankings.
"We are determined to win state," Youngblood said.
As a wide receiver, Youngblood had five catches for 166 yards against Pryor. On the game's first TD, he took a short pass and raced 56 yards to the end zone. On East Central's second TD, he caught a 72-yard bomb from Tre'von Cherry.
For the season, he has 24 receptions for 522 yards and seven TDs. Youngblood, who averages nearly 22 yards per catch, and University of Oklahoma commit Stanvon Taylor give opponents nightmares as the Cardinals' wideouts.
"If they don't cover Stanvon, he's going to make a play," Youngblood said. "If they don't cover me, I'll make a play. We don't care who scores as long as somebody scores and we win at the end of the day."
Youngblood and Taylor also give opponents problems as twin punt returners. In Week 9 against Tahlequah, Youngblood had TD punt returns of 85 and 82 yards, with Taylor throwing a key block on the latter. When they kicked away from Youngblood, Taylor reeled off a 41-yard return. Pryor didn't punt to either of them.
As defensive backs, Youngblood (four) and Taylor (three) have combined for seven interceptions. The only touchdown that the Cardinals have allowed in the past two weeks came after reserves committed a turnover at their 10 against Pryor.
"Our defense is playing well," Youngblood said. "We've got the intensity going in practice. We have music playing during practice and that gets us hyped."
Youngblood has emerged as a big-time offensive threat in the second half of the season.
"He dropped some balls early in the season," East Central coach Bobby Klinck said. "We didn't cut him any slack. We challenged him and he's turned it on."
Just as Youngblood has benefitted from coaching advice, he wants to do the same for the East Tulsa Trojans he helps coach, including his brother, Jacob, who is a defensive end, guard and running back. In the title game, Jacob had four sacks, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and blocked a punt.
A career in coaching could be in Youngblood's future.
"It's my second year doing it and it's pretty fun teaching those little dudes to how play football and proper techniques - letting them know what I know," he said. "I want them to grow up and do just what I did, and I want see to see them do that when I get older."
East Central, which hosts Shawnee on Friday in a playoff opener, won the district with six straight wins after forfeiting its first four games due to using an ineligible player.
"Those (forfeits) don't matter now," Youngblood said. "We're very happy the playoffs are here. We are on a mission."
Chieftains end drought: Sapulpa (6-4) has a winning record and is in the 6A playoffs for the first time since 2005. The Chieftains needed to beat Edison by seven points on Friday to qualify and prevailed, 31-24, after some tense moments against the 1-9 Eagles.
"It was a fun night," Sapulpa coach Mike Gottsch said. "It was a big relief to win. We were all emotionally drained. We knew it was going to be a dogfight and that Edison would be ready. You could feel the tension as the game went on."
Edison was threatening to snap a 24-24 tie and take the lead midway through the fourth quarter until Sapulpa linebacker Wesley Allen stripped the ball from Edison's quarterback and rumbled 60 yards to the Eagles 10.
"It was like a rugby scrum and all of a sudden Wesley comes away with it and is going down the sideline," Gottsch said.
Sapulpa quarterback Sam Gottsch scored the tiebreaking TD on a 1-yard run and Cameron Mortazavi kicked the extra point that sent the Chieftains to the playoffs.
"This is a big step for us," said Mike Gottsch, in his third season at Sapulpa.
The Chieftains visit No. 2 Owasso on Friday.
Bittersweet ending for Titans: Demetri Walker passed for 300 yards and two TDs plus he ran for three others to help McLain edge 4A No. 8 Cleveland 38-35 on Friday, McLain's Bishop Louie had seven catches for 120 yards and Jaelen Bledsoe had five receptions for 102 yards and a TD plus an interception on defense. JyReece Vanhook had the clinching interception with two minutes left after Cleveland reached McLain's 20.
McLain (7-3) misses the postseason after qualifying twice in the previous four years but finishes with its best record since 1997. The Titans haven't had a better record since going 10-3 in 1990.
"Not too bad of a year," said Jarvis Payne Sr., after his first season as McLain's head coach. "We've got a decent nucleus coming back but we need to get bigger up front."
Week 10 stars: Raymond McLaurin had 23 rushes for 179 yards and four TDs to lead 6A No. 9 Sand Springs' 35-21 win over Enid. Sand Springs' Cody Hale passed for 250 yards and a TD. ...
Bixby's Marshall Ray completed 22-of-30 passes for 398 yards and four TDs in a 46-21 victory over Muskogee. ...
Beggs' Chris Baccus had 138 total yards and four TDs in a 48-27 win over Henryetta.
Time change: Friday's Westmoore at Union game in the 6A playoffs will start at 7 p.m.