Yellowjackets prepare to open vs. Shawnee
Going into a third season head coach Jake Corbin and his staff are more confident than ever about the future of Choctaw football.
Corbin says his young and talented squad is in prime condition, and they’ll be ready to perform as winners week after week.
“I feel like we’re in very good shape. Our physical composition is the best of any team since we’ve been here,” said Corbin. “Our guys are in shape. They’re muscular, lean and fast this year.”
Some new faces join the coaching lineup this season, and this will contribute to Choctaw building strength and speed.
“We added Cy Stallard as our offensive coordinator. He was a college coach for several years, and was most recently at Cleveland Oklahoma where he’s from. He was able to break a lot of offensive records there, and he’s a really sharp guy. EJ Tillenger joins our coaching staff most recently from Harrah. We also hired coach Kimes Gilbert’s brother, Reece Gilbert. He’s a recent OBU grad, and played football there. We also hired Ron Brown to work with our receivers and be our speed coach,” said Corbin. “We now have Kimes Gilbert as the strength coach and Ron Brown as the speed coach. So we have a really good staff that really gels together. We also have a really strong staff as you can tell they’re a bunch of weight room guys. Our staff does a really good job with our kids. Our guys have been doing big things in the weight room since we’ve been here. You’re now starting to see the dividends from it. Guys are looking real lean and trim, and now with a speed coach it’s taking us to another level.”
While Choctaw’s athletes may be in peak condition, the squad still has plenty of youth going into the season.
“You’ll see a lot of sophomores and a few freshmen get some varsity snaps this year,” said Corbin.
Despite the youthful roster, Corbin says Choctaw fans can expect some surprises this year thanks to the speed, strength and conditioning of his talented team.
“If you want to be a big dog you better act like a big dog, walk like one and talk like one. I don’t know any other way to do it. How do you go from losing to winning? You start acting like a winner before you do it. You might take some lumps along the way, but you have to get up and keep swinging. I feel like we’ve done that,” said Corbin.”You’re not going to convince us, in this program, that we’re not winners regardless of what happens. We have a group of coaches and kids that believe in that each day. We carry ourselves a certain way, and we expect to win. Our community is ready for winners. We’re ready for a top-tier program.”
Challenging Class 6A-II Schedule
The Yellowjackets will again battle through Class 6A-II (No. 17-32 of Oklahoma’s largest high schools).
The Choctaw-Nicoma Park school district continues to grow, and recent athletic achievements are making the schools even more desirable for high academic achievers and outstanding athletes alike.
“We’re done losing talented kids. Choctaw is the place to be, and we’re seeing a bright future,” said Corbin.
In size CHS sits comfortably in the middle of Class 6A-II. Choctaw currently ranks between No. 22-24 depending on ADM (average daily membership). CHS is rotating with Putnam City North and Bartlesville around 1,640 students as enrollment numbers continue to adjust going into the year.
For comparison, that’s about 400 more students than Shawnee High School and 300 more students than Midwest City High School. Choctaw has already turned away around 500 students hoping to transfer in this year.
It’s safe to say CHS will continue to face some of the biggest and best competition.
“It’s always tough in Class 6A-II. You can lose every week, and you can win every week. We really feel like all the old adages are true. If we don’t turn the ball over, and if we take care of us I think we have a chance to be vying for playoff spots,” said Corbin. “We look for people in our district, and we think Del City and Stillwater will be at the top of that followed by Midwest City and Lawton. That’s based off of what we’ve seen, and know is coming back. We hope to be in that mix, but we have to go prove it first. We like our chances and feel strong about our team.”
This year Choctaw will open the season hosting Shawnee. The Aug. 24 non-district matchup will put the Jackets against the Wolves opening the year with Hall of Fame Night.
Historically, Choctaw is 6-5 against Shawnee. The series began with a Class 3A showdown in 1976, and Choctaw defeated the Wolves during all of their last five meetings, 1996-99 and 2018. SHS won just two games when they climbed up into Class 6A-II last year.
The following week Choctaw will travel to Cameron university to face Lawton Eisenhower, Sept. 12.
The Jackets topped Eisenhower 35-14 last year. CHS has defeated Lawton Ike in the last three meetings, 2014, 2015 and 2018.
Choctaw returns for Homecoming 2019 vs. Putnam City North, Sept. 20.
The Jackets will have a challenge that week as they look to beat PCN a fifth time in a tough series against the Panthers dating back to 1978. Choctaw hopes to repeat a historic win from 2017 when CHS won, 42-14.
District play begins Sept. 27 when Choctaw will host Military Night as they hope to avenge a 22-20 loss to the Eagles last season.
Last year the Eagles were another team to move up from Class 5A, and they found success. Del City beat CHS by two points and improved to a 6-5 historic record vs. Choctaw. The Eagles went on to make the state quarterfinals falling to Booker T. Washington, 27-8.
Oct. 4 CHS travels to Putnam City for a district matchup with PCO. Putnam City went winless last season. Choctaw claimed victory, 49-7.
The Jackets play at Stillwater Oct. 11. After defeating the Pioneers in 2014, CHS has been on a four-year skid against the Stillwater program. Stillwater is expected to return some talented athletes after claiming state runner-up (12-1) last season. The only loss last season for Stillwater was a 35-14 decision in the 6A-II title game.
Oct. 17 CHS hosts POM/CHEER Night vs. PC West. Putnam West was struggling last year only claiming a win over their winless rival, PCO. Choctaw has defeated PC West two straight years.
CHS travels to Lawton, Oct. 25. Lawton improved to a two-game win streak over Choctaw last season. CHS has two victories (1994 and 2016) in the series that originated in 1986.
District play continues Nov. 1 when the Jackets face rival Midwest City in Rose Field.
State Champion Bixby knocked MWC out of the playoffs last year, 24-21. The Bombers finished the year 9-3, and are likely to make another run for the postseason. After a 2016 win, Choctaw is sitting at a 2-15 all-time record against the Bombers. The Jackets are looking to improve that and prove they’ve built a program capable of consistently competing with the state’s best.
Senior Night is slated for Nov. 9 vs. Deer Creek. Last year Deer creek claimed their first win over Choctaw, 28-24. Choctaw defeated the Antlers the two previous years to begin the series, and CHS looks to get back on track.