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Fall Sports Preview 2018 AltusTimes

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Bulldogs reload for 2018 season BY RYAN LEWIS

Daniel Riley carried the ball just 31 times last season, but he made every run count, rushing for 281 yards on 31 carries for an average of 9.1 yards per carry.

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Rick Carpenter | Altus Times

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Just five years ago, the Altus High School football team was on the verge of beginning a season that it would finish with a 3-7 record. It would be yet another down year in a decade filled with wasted seasons and untapped potential. That was when Jeremy Reed joined the team and transformed the Bulldogs into the team that it still is today. In just two seasons, Altus rose from being one of the worst teams in Class 5A football to take the field to being the undisputed best. But after that state championship win in 2015, Reed left the team for an Arkansas high school leaving the Bulldogs without the head coach that made the program relevant again. When coach Todd Vargas took over the team, the question was whether he could maintain the same level of success as Reed, and as soon as the Bulldogs returned to the field, that question was answered in the affirmative. However, this past spring, after three years as the head coach of the program, it was time for Vargas to part ways with the team as well. Vargas opted to go home to Madill in hopes of spearheading the same kind of transformation for the Madill Wildcats football program that he helped initiate as part of the Bulldog coaching staff in 2014.

SCHEDULE BOLD denotes home game Aug. 30 — 7 p.m. at Lawton High School Sept. 7 — 7 p.m. — Vernon Sept. 14 — 7 p.m. — Elk City Sept. 21 — 7 p.m. — Southeast Sept. 28 — 7:30 p.m. at Ardmore Oct. 5 — 7 p.m. — Noble Oct. 12 — 7 p.m. — Lawton MacArthur Oct. 18 — 7 p.m. at Western Heights Oct. 26 — 7 p.m. — El Reno Nov. 2 — 7 p.m. at Duncan For the Bulldogs, it’s a minor transition. While a lot of teams struggle after losing a head coach, the Bulldogs were built for sustained success after implementing an offense in 2014 that plays to the strengths of Altus’ often undersized athletes. Coach Matt Terry inherited a team that has grown up with the Flexbone offense, but more importantly, he inherited players that have grown up in the Bulldog brotherhood which is, quite possibly, Altus’ biggest weapon on and off the field. Still, the question marks exist for Terry just as they did for Vargas and after losing an AllState quarterback and offensive lineman — Jake Vargas and Keegan Shive — and 16 other seniors to graduation, it’s not hard to see why those questions might exist. But Terry said he and the coaching staff understand that’s all part of being a high school football

coach and putting athletes with limited varsity experience on the field happens every year. “We have to replace five on offense,” Terry said, “three or four on defense if you count Jake [Vargas] as a true starter. We lost lots of good ones, but that’s high school football, you have to replace them every year.” Though Jake Vargas left a big hole at the quarterback position, his replacement is Kobi Gomez, a player who saw a lot of playing time last season for the Bulldogs as Jake’s back-up. For most of the 2017 season, the Bulldogs built substantial leads in games, allowing Jake an opportunity to rest and Gomez an opportunity to run the offense beneath the Friday night lights. “Kobi’s a great kid and a great leader,” Terry said. “Obviously, there’s not going to be much that rattles him being a state champion in wrestling. You tell everyone your starting quarterback weighs 150 pounds and they kind of laugh at you. That’s why we run what we do because we’re not going to be bigger than anyone we play, and in my five years here, he’s one of the best players we’ve had to read the true triple option.” Besides Gomez taking over under center, the rest of the offensive backfield remains the same. The only question mark surrounding the Bulldog offense is in the guard, SEE RELOAD, PAGE 3

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Nehemiah McCaskill often turned busted plays into positive yards last year for the Bulldogs, rushing for 624 yards on 68 carries.

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tackle and tight end positions. Nearly the entire offensive line was selected to the 2018 All-District 5A-1 team. Shive, Kade Wilson, Chris Heitert, Garrett Yeager and Gage Vernon graduated in May leaving just Joel Arroyo as the only returning starter. Terry said it’s hard to replace the four that left but he said he has three juniors who are capable and will start for him while one spot is up for grabs. Caleb Leyja, Aydan Lesley and Cale Gallagher will be three of the four starters while the right guard position

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will be decided between junior Elias Soliz and senior Luis Garcia. Terry also said the defensive line is facing the same issue. With the graduation of Jazerick Pitts, the Bulldogs lost one of their biggest playmakers and hardest workers on the defensive line. Even with all the losses, Terry said he is confident that this team will be just as successful as past teams. “I think we’re ready,” Terry said. “This spring, we put more in than we ever have defensively. All we ask is that they pin their ears back and go. The guys who have to think are back in the secondary. This is the first time ever I’ve had four

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Izaiah Hall proved himself last season with 67 carries for 477 yards. guys come back in the secondary who saw significant playing time the year before. Offensively, they’ve been running it since 2014, so the only thing is timing. The key positions that we have, they’ve been running it for four or five years.”

Those key positions are athletes like running backs Nehemiah McCaskill, Cabe Dickerson and Izaiah Hall and wide receivers Javon Bostic and Koby Bates. The Bulldogs also return players like Daniel Riley, Scotty Brown, Garrett Pride,

Trey Pierce, Ryan Borrego and Hunter Webb, all of whom have made a name for themselves over the last few years as a member of the Bulldog football team. The Bulldogs will also have a change on special teams after last year’s

primary kicker, Ernesto Rosas, graduated in May. The job will fall to senior Danny Jamieson and sophomore Victor Velazquez. Terry said special teams are overlooked but that many SEE RELOAD, PAGE 8

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Lady Bulldogs eyeing big season in 2018 SCHEDULE

BY RYAN LEWIS

BOLD denotes home game Aug. 20 — 5 p.m. — Cache Aug. 23 — 5 p.m. at Duncan Aug. 28 — 4:30 p.m. — Granite Aug. 30 — 5 p.m. at Navajo Sept. 1 — 1 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. at Ardmore Sept. 4 — 6:30 p.m. at Lawton Eisenhower Sept. 6-8 — at Sterling tournament Sept. 11 — 5 p.m. — Lawton MacArthur Sept. 13-15 — at Sayre tournament Sept. 17 — 6:30 p.m. — Piedmont Sept. 18 — 5:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. at Edmond Santa Fe South Sept. 20 — 5:30 p.m. — Duncan Sept. 25 — 5 p.m. & 6:30 p.m. at Lawton High

“A year more experienced,” is a phrase that a lot of coaches use when describing a team comprised of mostly young athletes, and for the Altus High School fast pitch softball team, that same phrase applies more than ever after graduating five seniors who made significant contributions to the team in 2017. The losses were in key positions, putting Lady Bulldogs Coach Ricky Bull in a tough position in just his second season at the helm of the softball program. Not only did Bull lose ace Kymbree McKee, he also lost catch-

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er Alex Jackson, short stop Kelsee Baker, third baseman Craigin Steed and first baseman Destiny Von Raesfeld. This season, Bull said the biggest question marks surrounding the team and its performance is at the pitching and catching positions. Losing McKee and Jackson hit the Lady Bulldogs hard and finding players to fill those positions has proven difficult, Bull said. “We’ve got a really good nucleus returning,” Bull said, “but we lost two experienced seniors in McKee and Jackson at the pitching and catching positions. In softball or baseball, those positions

are huge.” Bull said those losses have left him without a pitcher and a catcher with varsity experience. What that means for the Lady Bulldogs is that he will be moving players around as he sees fit in order to field the best possible team. At the catcher position, he said he has little to work with since most of his players have very limited experience behind the plate, but as for pitchers, there are a few on the team who Bull believes can step up and deliver. ”We really don’t have anybody with any varsity experience at the pitcher position,” Bull said, “but Whitley [Townsend] pitched almost all of our junior varsity games last year and she’s going to pitch some for us. Brooke

[Hill] can also pitch and will probably pitch some, and if we just had to have her, Alana [Lopez] could pitch a little bit.” But Bull said he believes the teams best pitcher will be senior Kaylen Carroll, a former Navajo softball player who transferred to Altus last year and began playing softball and basketball for the Lady Bulldogs. The problem, Bull said, is that he believes Carroll is the team’s best all-around player, and because of that, he is hesitant to stick her in one position until he sees how the rest of the team can handle the rest of the workload. Even if it makes the placement of players difficult for now, he admits it’s a good problem to

have. “Our main pitcher will probably be Kaylen,” Bull said, “but she can play catcher too and be unbelievable. I really need her at shortstop and she played great at first base last year. The problem is, I can only have her at one place at any one time. So, we’re just going to have to play a little bit here in the early going and see what the best combination is, which means everything else is going to basically be built around where she ends up playing.” Aside from Carroll, Altus returns two other seniors in Jacinda McQuiggan and Aliyah Gutierrez. The list of returning juniors includes Lopez, Hill, Aubri Hughes, Jerzee Ybarra and Annie Petzold, and sophomores include

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Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Lakysia Johnson (7) gets ready to run in as Emily Hughes (2) makes contact in a game against Lawton Eisenhower.

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Townsend, Star Sims and Brianna McQuiggan. The team is a year more experienced and features many starters from last year’s team. Bull said the goal is to improve on last year’s record and come out stronger than every Lady Bulldogs team in years past. He said he believes the team has enough talent to accomplish that in 2018. “Obviously, we want to improve on our record,” Bull said, “but the bottom line is we just want to improve over last season. With who we have returning, I don’t see why we can’t. In the early going, I don’t know if we’ll have a pitcher or a catcher play as well or be as good as what we had last year, but I think everything else involved definitely has the potential to be better.” Bull said of the returning starters, one was a freshman last year and five were sophomores. The amount of experience returning to the team sets the Lady Bulldogs up for what could potentially be a breakout season after a string of down years.

Lakysia Johnson (7) steals second base during a game against Eisenhower on Tuesday.

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Brooke Hill pitched Altus’ fourth game of the season against Lawton Eisenhower on Tuesday, picking up Altus’ third win in four games. Bull said he noticed early on how well the team was performing at the plate already. He said the team has several power hitters who can change the game with one swing

of a bat. “Our best all-around hitter,” Bull said, “in terms of power, getting on base and being very fast when she hits it is Kaylen. Alana is going to

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be our lead-off because she’s a really good contact hitter, Brooke has a lot of power and so does Jerzee. In terms of the deep ball, they’re going to be our biggest threats. Having said that, Aubri is a smaller second baseman and she is a great contact hitter as well. I think we’re going to be pretty good at producing runs.” The Lady Bulldogs showed that power off during a season-opening

doubleheader against Grandfield on Aug. 6. In the first game, Altus defeated Grandfield, 15-3, after big games from Lopez, Carroll and Townsend. Lopez finished the game 3-for-3 with three runs scored and four RBIs while Carroll and Townsend each added two runs and two RBIs on two hits. In the second game of the doubleheader, Altus defeated Grandfield, 4-2, to begin the season with

an unblemished two-win record. The major difference between this year’s team and last year’s team is that Altus didn’t pick up its second win until the month of August was almost over. There’s plenty of power and experience on the Lady Bulldogs roster. All that remains to be seen is how they use it this season. Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-4821221, ext. 2076.

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Altus cross country teams primed for big year SCHEDULE

BY RYAN LEWIS ryan@altustimes.com There are few athletes who look at running as a way of life rather than a tool to exercise and stay in shape. For those who do, there is cross country and track. But with track still many months away, those who love to run spend the fall sports season doing what they do best in cross country. At Altus High School, long distance running is something few student-athletes have had an interest in prior to the last few years. But the sport has grown in Altus and now, coaches Rick Patterson and Robert Garrison find themselves with 20 or more runners each season instead of 10. The girls’ team is still young, comprised of just two seniors on a team filled with juniors and sophomores. In fact, the team’s best runner is Cayden Beckner, a sophomore who finished in the top 15 at the state cross country meet during her freshman year. Beckner has been battling to get back into shape after being cleared to re-

BOLD denotes home meet Aug. 25 — 8:30 a.m. at Weatherford Sept. 1 — 8:15 a.m. at Duncan Sept. 7 — 10 a.m. at Elgin Sept. 14 — 9:15 a.m. at Cameron Sept. 22 — 9 a.m. at Cache Sept. 28 — 10 a.m. at Frederick Oct. 5 — 9:15 a.m. at Cameron Oct. 9 — 4:30 p.m. — Altus sume normal activities following a 14-week recovery period after she suffered a burst fracture of her L5 vertebrae in March. The injury forced her to miss the 2018 track season, but Beckner was able to compete in the American Spirit Triathlon in July. She said her back didn’t hurt at all, but Garrison said there are still some side effects of the injury they are trying to work around. “This will be her first time really running since the accident,” Garrison said. “We’ve been trying to pace her. She has a little problem sometimes when she runs where she loses feeling in the bottom part of her right leg. It’s happened twice now where

she’ll be running and then she’ll just fall. So, we’re leary of that.” Garrison said he and Patterson have tried to limit Beckner in practice to prevent her from getting hurt. He said they are looking at the bigger picture and feel that right now is not the time to push her any harder than necessary. Another member of last year’s state qualifying team that battled an injury of her own is junior Bethany Garrison. Bethany was hampered by a foot injury during the 2017 cross country season but looks to return to form this year and help her team make it back to the state championship meet. Joining Beckner and Bethany as returners to this year’s cross country team is state qualifier Alison Nichols, Olivia James, Riley Borrego, Grayce Gilliam and Mackenzie Wood. Perhaps the most exciting addition to the team for coaches Garrison and Patterson is Haley Leyja. Leyja is one of Altus’ best runners in track and Coach Garrison said he finally talked her in to coming out for cross country.

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Ryan Lewis | Altus Times “She’s going to be a big help,” Coach Garrison said. “She was running great in track and it’s the first time she has been injury free. She has been running really well in the workouts. We’re also getting Riley back who was out all last year with a knee injury, so, we’re a very young team with the potential to be very talented.” Additional runners for the team include Angel Willoughby and Lexie

Salazar. Patterson called Willoughby and Salazar two of the hardest working runners he’s had since practices began a few weeks ago. He said they come to morning practices and sometimes they even show up for evening practices. Patterson said the goal for the girls’ team is to be a top five team in state, something he believes they can achieve with the potential on the girls’ roster.

“It had been awhile since they made it to state,” Patterson said, “and for two years running now, they made it to state. I think last year they were disappointed because it all just fell apart, but I think the expectation this year is to be a top five team in the state. Beckner can finish in the top 10 and Bethany and Haley can make it in the top 20 or top 25.” While the girls are set up SEE PRIMED, PAGE 10

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New coach but same goal for Navajo Lady Indians BY RYAN LEWIS ryan@altustimes.com When the Navajo High School Lady Indians softball team takes the field this fall, it’ll be under the direction of a new head coach. But despite that change, one thing that will remain the same is the desire to improve and compete for a state championship. Taking the place of former head coach Terry Gilbert is Navajo alumna Kriston Shumaker who returns to Navajo in an entirely different role than she had when she left the school five years ago. Following a successful softball career in which she played one year at Western Oklahoma State College and three years at Southern Nazarene University, Shumaker joins a program that has experienced a surge of success over the last few years. She is a new coach with most of her experience coming from playing the game, coaching summer league teams and offering lessons to young softball hopefuls, but for what she lacks in coaching experience, she makes up for it with knowledge of the game and a willingness to share that knowledge with young athletes looking to take their game to the next level. But a head coaching change is just one of two major changes for the Lady Indians softball team as the team prepares to move forward without Gracee Bates, Emmy Cobb and Tabitha Armstrong. Despite losing the team’s best players in quite some time, Shumaker said there are plenty of girls looking for

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SCHEDULE BOLD denotes home game Aug. 20 — 6:30 p.m. — Lookeba-Sickles Aug. 21 —6:30 p.m. — Mangum Aug. 30 — 5 p.m. — Altus Sept. 3 — at Fletcher Festival Sept. 4 — 6:30 p.m. — Fort Cobb Sept. 6-8 — at Sterling tournament Sept. 10 — 6:30 p.m. — Merritt Sept. 11 — 6:30 p.m. at Lookeba-Sickles Sept. 13 — 6:30 p.m. — Duke Sept. 15 — at Hobart Festival Sept. 17 — 6:30 p.m. — Granite Sept. 18 — 6:30 p.m. — Grandfield Sept. 24 — 5 p.m. — Clinton the opportunity to make an impact on the field. “The three seniors from last year were great assets to the team,” Shumaker said, “but there are definitely girls ready to fill their shoes. We have a lot of depth in every position, especially when we factor in the freshman class and the transfers.” One of the things Shumaker noticed immediately is how well the team hits the ball. Navajo has had its share of power hitters over the last few seasons, and Shumaker said this year will be no different. Although the Lady Indians lose a career .493 hitter in Bates, there is no shortage of returning power hitters. In fact, a lot of the returning players who made a big impact during Navajo’s 2017 fastpitch season were just freshmen SEE GOAL, PAGE 8

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Trinity Rohrer attempts to throw a runner out during the 2018 slow-pitch softball state championship game. Rohrer is one of the team’s youngest players but has also proven to be one of the team’s best.

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then. Shumaker said those same players return with more experience, more strength and much more determined than last year. “I have a lot of strong hitters,” Shumaker said. “Gracie Brooks and Trinity Rohrer were both starters last year as freshmen, and they will be a big part of the lineup this year. I also have senior Kalee Cross and freshman Abby Bates who both hit the ball well.” Abby Bates — Gracee Bates’ sister — is a player to watch as the athlete returned home from Panama City Beach, Florida last month with a United States Fastpitch Association 14-and-under World Series ring as a member of the Oklahoma Bulldogs. Shumaker said with players like Abby Bates, the sky is the limit for this Lady Indians team.

“I came into a power-hitting program,” Shumaker said. “In our first scrimmage, we scored a lot of runs and our pitchers hit spots well. Our defense and short game have been aspects that we have been working on and we executed them very well. Our bats, behind ace pitcher Kylie Miranda, should make for an exciting season.” Before the team gets into the thick of the season, Shumaker said there is still much work to be done. Although she has no need to rebuild the team from the ground up thanks to an already strong core group of players, Shumaker said she does plan to introduce some new elements to the girls. “I am implementing,” Shumaker said, “a small ball aspect of our game to help us compete at the highest level. I’m also incorporating everything I learned during my college

Kalee Cross has been one of Navajo’s most consistent players on the softball field. In this photo, Cross is taking a swing during the slow-pitch state championship softball game. Cross finished 2-for-4 with one run scored in that game. Rick Carpenter | Altus Times

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career including drills and practice plans. We will also be lifting and conditioning in the off-season to get even stronger.” By “small ball,” Shumaker is referring to a game plan that emphasizes placing runners on base and advancing them into scoring position for a run in a methodical way. If successful, the Lady Indians will add yet another dimension to their already multidimensional style of play. The Lady Indians play a fast, smart and powerful brand of softball, and Shumaker said she is ready to see what her first season as a head coach brings. “The girls are hungry,” Shumaker said, “and I’m excited to see how we do against competitive teams. My expectation is to continue building the Navajo softball program and win a title.” Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-4821221, ext. 2076.

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Cabe Dickerson is one of the many running backs the coaches will have at their disposal. Last season, Dickerson rushed for 306 yards on 56 carries.

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people don’t realize how much special teams can impact a game. “Special teams is something that if you don’t practice,” Terry said, “it’s going to get you beat, especially in game one. Being a kicker is tough in high school, we ask a lot of them. You’re off practicing by yourself and you don’t think anybody notices but it’s a key position, and both Danny and Victor have strong legs. Danny has been getting better and better every year.” With the first game of the year just right around the corner in Lawton, the team has been hard at work fine-tuning

the offense and defense with two practices each day. Terry said the type of athletes he has had since coming back to Altus as a coach have worked tirelessly to perfect the system. “To run the triple option,” Terry said, “you need to have true hard-nosed kids. You’re going to throw it four times a game so you have to be tough and be willing to run right out people. We had some large linemen last year, but in a normal year, we’re going to be undersized and the triple option helps with that because you don’t have many oneon-one blocks. Our kids play hard and they’re going to give you effort every Friday night. If they give it everything they have every Friday night, we’re going to be in every game.”

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Indians look to make a statement in 2018-19 BY RYAN LEWIS ryan@altustimes.com The Navajo High School baseball team suffered two of its biggest losses this year and those losses came before the 2018 fall season even began. In May, Tristan Netherton and Wyatt Weaver graduated from high school, leaving holes on the team that coach Weston Winters would have to fill. Last year’s Indians finished the fall baseball season with a 22-8 record and Netherton and Weaver were two of the biggest reasons for that finish. Netherton led the team last fall with a batting average of .449 while Weaver finished just behind him in second with an average of .409. Production like that is hard to replace, but Winters said the thing about his baseball team is when one player leaves, there is another player right behind him looking to make an impact. “They were my leadoff and two-hole hitters,” Winters said, “and they were the two best players on the team. I’m replacing them with two sophomores. Kelby Shumaker will probably play shortstop a lot and Kaleb Covey will play second base. They were good enough to start on any other high school team, but Tristan and Wyatt were very good players for us.” But the strength of this year’s team lies in a different position altogether. While replacing the production and defensive prowess of Netherton and Weaver is hard, baseball lives and dies by the arm

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SCHEDULE BOLD denotes home game Aug. 23 —4:30 p.m. — Granite Aug. 23 — 6:30 p.m. — Granite Aug. 25 — 12 p.m. — Duke Aug. 25 — 4 p.m. — Cheyenne-Reydon Aug. 27 — at Labor Day tournament at Hydro Sept. 4 — 4:30 p.m. at Duke Sept. 4 — 6:30 p.m. at Duke Sept. 7 — 5 p.m. at Leedey vs. Drummond Sept. 7 — 7 p.m. at Leedey Sept. 8 — 1 p.m. at NOC Festival in Enid Sept. 10 — 4:30 p.m. — Canute Sept. 13 — 1 p.m. at Hammon tournament Sept. 17 — 4 p.m. — Blair

Holdyn Mandrell is one of the seniors the Navajo Indians will rely on to help the team prosper during the 2018 fall baseball season. Courtesy photo | Shaundra Covey

that is on the mound. A good team with a great pitcher can beat almost anyone and that is one position where Winters has options. Navajo returns every pitcher from last year except for one, giving the Indians one of the best pitching staffs in Oklahoma Class A baseball. “The strength of our team,” Winters said, “is going to be our pitching. Holdyn Mandrell will be one of our best pitchers and so will Dallas Cox and Jaden Lingle. I have about nine arms that I feel comfortable throwing out on the mound.” The biggest test for those arms will come now rather than during the spring as there are only two classes in fall baseball in Oklahoma. What that means SEE STATEMENT, PAGE 10

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for Winters’ team is that there will be times where the Indians will take the field with a much bigger school. Despite having to play against some of the state’s biggest schools, Winters said his team can compete with any team that steps out onto the field. “Fall baseball is always a bigger test,” Winters said, “because you only have two classes. In Class A where we’re at, you have teams like Dale, Latta, Silo and Byng, and

all those teams are going to be 2A, 3A or 4A. So they’re all thrown in with us, which doesn’t mean we can’t compete with them because we do, it’s just tougher. But these guys, they were talking the other night about how ‘we’re good enough,’ and they are, they just have to go out there and get in regionals and give themselves a chance.” To get there, Winters’ team will have some tough tests along the way, but he said he knows his team can handle anything thrown their way. If one of his pitcher’s has a bad game, Navajo has plenty of big bats

to back him up. Winters said Airen Josefy is a tried and tested player that will make a big impact on the field for the Indians. Behind Netherton and Weaver last season, Josefy had the next best batting average on the team through the fall season at .379. While only hitting five home runs last fall, Winters said he has noticed how much Josefy has improved after watching him hit 15 home runs while playing travel ball this summer. Hot on the heels of Josefy is Lingle, another one of Winters’ best players who was fourth last fall with a bat-

ting average of .348. “Josefy and Lingle are both juniors,” Winters said, “and both of them can rake. I go to the field and work on the field all the time and both of them are out there practicing. I wouldn’t trade Airen or Jaden for anybody. Those are two kids that are untouchable.” Winters said with the team he’s putting on the field, there is the potential to win a lot of games and go far in post season play. Despite losing four seniors to graduation, Winters said there is plenty of talent on the roster to help get the Indians

wherever they want to go. All that remains to be seen is how much they want it and how hard they’ll work to achieve it. “We’re gonna have a chance to win a lot of games,” Winters said. “We have good team speed and a lot of experience. I lost four seniors but I can replace their bats in the order.” Winters said he expects big things from several of his players but that the three players who will make the biggest impact on the team are Josefy, Lingle and Mitch Smith. Navajo’s season began with a, 12-0, win over Geronimo in the

first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 6. Smith and Mandrell combined for five innings of nohit baseball with Smith pitching four innings and striking out four and Mandrell pitching the final inning and striking out one to close the game out for the Indians. The Indians also beat Geronimo, 15-1, in the second game of the doubleheader to open the season, 2-0. Navajo will play its next home game on Aug. 23 against Granite at 4:30 p.m.

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men Justin Ortiz and Aiden Kille join the team this season and so far, Coach Garrison said he has been impressed with what they have done so far during workouts. Michael James is also set to join the team. Coach Garrison said that, just like with the girls team, there is a potential for the boys to find their footing and take Class 5A by storm. The two teams’ first real test comes at Cameron University on Oct. 5 where Coach Garrison said all of the top teams in southwest Oklahoma will be, allowing the coaches to gauge where the team is just ahead of the regional cross country meet near the end of October. Patterson said right now the focus is on pacing the team so that they don’t peak too early. “The big picture is,”

Patterson said, “we don’t’ need to be running six miles everyday or every other day just to put in mileage right now because you’re wanting to peak at the right time. Last year, Cayden, half way through the season, ran the second or third fastest time in the state in a 5K but then she never came close to that again. So we don’t want them to peak too early.” Also this season, the coaches are allowing the junior high cross country team to run at the Altus Invitational which is scheduled for Oct. 9. Coach Garrison said it is the first time they have done this and it will allow the junior high runners a chance to end their season running on their own course.

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well, the boys’ team lost a big asset in Ryan Oden. Oden was the only state qualifier for the boys last season, but Patterson said there is an opportunity for the boys team to be really good this season with Calvin Wagoner returning to lead the team. “Our goal for the boys,” Patterson said, “is to make it to state as a team. Boys cross country has been down for so long, but now, we’re starting to get our numbers back up. A lot of the coaches in spring sports realize their kids should be out here running and we’re getting a lot out from that.” Also returning to the boys team is Macel Canterbury, Rafael Ramos and Moses McCaskill. Fresh-

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-4821221, ext. 2076.

Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-4821221, ext. 2076.

V I S I T U S AT A LT U ST I M E S .C O M 10 • FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2018

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Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Kaylen Carroll (12) is someone coach Ricky Bull said is his best all-around athlete on the 2018 Lady Bulldogs softball team.

Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Kaylen Carroll (12) can play just about any position on the field. In Tuesday’s game against Eisenhower, Carroll tagged a Lawton runner out while playing shortstop for Altus.

Navajo High School Cross Country Schedule BOLD denotes home meet

Ryan Lewis | Altus Times Olivia James looks to help the Lady Bulldogs cross country team advance to state for the third year in a row.

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Rick Carpenter | Altus Times Nehemiah McCaskill (33) will be the top option for quarterback Kobi Gomez this season.

Aug. 28 — Marlow Sept. 8 — Riverside Sept. 14 — Cameron Sept. 18 — Walters Sept. 22 — Cache Sept. 25 — Velma-Alma Oct. 5 — Cameron Oct. 9 — Altus FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2018 • 11


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12 • FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2018

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FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2018 ALTUS  
FALL SPORTS PREVIEW 2018 ALTUS  
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