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Titans host Wolverines in season opener

With two successful preseason scrimmages under their belts, the Carl Albert Titans will be playing for real Friday night when Coach Gary Rose and his squad will host Class 6A power Lawton at Jim Harris Stadium with a 7 p.m. kickoff.

The two teams received similar rankings in the pre-season polls with the Wolverines No. 5 in Class 6A-II and also slated to battle Midwest City for the District crown. The Titans are picked second in 5A-2 behind Mighty McGuinness and are also ranked No. 5 in Class 5A.

The outcome of the non-district game could come down to Lawton run vs Carl Albert pass. No, you are not reading fiction and No, I haven’t lost touch with reality. Carl Albert passing? Get used to it because as long as senior Johnny Bizzell is running the potent CA attack, opposing teams are going to have to adjust to the fact that Bizzell, who can be dazzling in running the option keeper from his quarterback slot, is also a big time passing threat.

If you don’t believe me, then just consider the facts.

In the scrimmage at Deer Creek last week, Bizzell got off to a slow start before catching fire with his strong and capable throwing arm to cause some coaches to raise their eyebrows.

Friday night’s performance against Putnam North, Lawton MacArthur and Mustang in the round robin scrimmage hosted by the Titans should once and all label tee Titans as a dual-threat offense going forward.

And Diego Richards, the small but mighty junior all-around threat, never touched the field Thursday night, still nursing some nagging injuries that have kept him out of much of the preseason conditioning.

Don’t be surprised to see him on the field Friday night against Lawton.

“We’ve to get him on the field and get the ball to Diego, and he can’t just be out there at receiver,” Rose said. “People know about him, so we foresee double coverage, hard coverage and if they do that we hope we have the ability to get it to the other guys on the other side of the field.”

Richards, at 5 foot 7 and 142 pounds, possesses lightning-fast speed. In 11 games last year, he averaged 8 yards per carry along with three rushing touchdowns. He also caught 47 passes, averaged 19 yards and scored eight more times.

But back to Bizzell: In the Titans’ 23-0 whitewashing of Putnam North in the evening’s final game, Bizzell had a hand in every point that went on the board, three field goals by Connor Watts, one rushing TD by Bizzell and a 55-yard TD strike from Bizzell to Jason Taylor.

Bizzell came out throwing on CA’s first possession, connecting with Aaron Hill for 38 and Taylor for 20 more to reach the 14. Bizzell faked a handoff to R. T. Sherman, then faked a pass to Braden Pursell in the flat before tucking the ball in and spinning his way to the end zone. Watts then tacked on the first PAT of the contest.

The second possession ended with a 23-yard field goal by Watts, but was set up by a 60-yard bomb to Jake Hill. Sherman picked up 21 yards in two cracks before Bizzell sailed a perfect pass down the sidelines for a 55-yard scoring strike to Taylor and Watt added the PAT for a 17-0 lead at intermission.

DEFENSE IS MAGNIFICENT                                  
And while Bizzell and Co. were moving the ball at will, the Titan D limited Mustang to just five first downs and got no closer that the 24. Bizzell again came up firing on the first possession of the second half hitting Jaden Pool for a 20-yard gain and Sherman picked up 56 yards in five carries to bring he ball to the 39 and Watts did the rest for a 20-0 score.

Returning starters Zane Alexander, Jaden Pool, Jimmy Hatfield, Braden Pursell and the forward wall of Karson Wagner, Lionel Scott-Johnson, Colton Chappell and Lydell Williams combined talents to force a punt after Titan punter Jake Hill, who had over 100 yards in passing yardage, pinned PCN on its own 12.

Bizzell, who close to 300 yards in the scrimmage, opened the drive with a 10-yard pass to Pursell, a 40-yarder to Jake Hill then handed to sophomore Dadrian Taylor for 20 more yards before Watts boomed his third FG of the evening for the final score.

LAWTON TALENTED AS USUAL                               
The Wolverines have won back to back district titles and are favored by battle Midwest City for the crown in 2016. Look for senior Tre Curry, who rushed for 1,129 yards last year and Zach Hanna, who  threw nine TD passes last season to be at the front of the 2016 Wolverines.

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