Last season, the Sarcoxie football team started off 1-2 after losing 38-26 at Lockwood in week three.
What a difference a year makes.
The Bears enter this week's contest at Pierce City at 3-0 after beating Lockwood 33-20 at home last week. That victory snapped a 15-year losing streak against Lockwood.
"It was a good win in the fact that our kids fought some adversity," head coach Luke Rader said. "They had to come back a few times. When Lockwood made some plays, we made some plays of our own. I was real happy about that. Especially defensively, when we needed to make a play we had kids step up and make those plays. I was pretty pleased. It was kind of the same thing offensively. They had us in a third-and-17 when we were up by 5. We broke a run and went on to score and kind of put it away."
The Bears have tallied 1,185 rushing yards in three games, with Logan Jones leading the way with 483 yards on 55 rushes. Ryder Cox has gained 251 yards on 36 carries, and Jade Bloss has added 33 rushes for 302 yards.
Defensively, four players are in double figures for tackles. Marcos Lopez leads the team with 18, Austin Lynch has 16, Hunter Berry has 11 and Bloss has totaled 10.
Sarcoxie will need strong performances from those players and more on Friday, as the Bears travel to Pierce City.
The Eagles are also 3-0, beating Jasper 54-22, Greenfield 27-6 and Liberal 42-0. Pierce City completed 7 of 9 passes for 192 yards and two scores against Liberal last week, and rushed 27 times for 312 yards.
"They're a typical Pierce City team," Rader said. "They're big up front and they've got a couple fast backs so they run the ball pretty well. It's the same thing defensively. They're big on the line and their linebackers and defensive backs run to the ball pretty well."
With the team clicking at 3-0, there isn't much for Rader to emphasize besides the fundamentals.
"Defensively we're going to have to do a good job with our assignments," he said. "Their running back is really, really fast. If he gets a seam he's probably going to score. We're just going to have to get to him and tackle well. Offensively it just comes back to taking care of the football and executing our jobs."
And about that running back? Cedric O'Hara has rushed for at least 200 yards in every game this year. He has 711 yards on 51 carries and is averaging 237 yards per game while scoring a total of 12 touchdowns.
It'll be a challenge for the Bears, but Rader said his team is excited about the position they're in.
"It's good for the kids, as far as seeing all the hard work for the summer pay off, and then in practices seeing the things we're doing paying off."
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