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Muskogee Roughers – 2021 Pigskin Preview Feature – Presented By Nissan of Muskogee

Muskogee Roughers 

Coach: TRAVIS HILL

Schedule:

8-27 – vs. Greenwood, AR

9-3 – vs. Bentonville West, AR

9-10 – at Rogers, AR

9-24 – at Putnam City West

10-1 – vs. Sand Springs

10-8 – at Bartlesville

10-14 – vs. Choctaw

10-22 – at Bixby

10-29 – at Booker T. Washington

11-5 – vs. Ponca City

Quick Hits:

Muskogee will face Rogers, AR for the first time since 2005. The Roughers and the Mountaineers have split their last two meetings. Rogers finished 6-3 in 2020 and were eliminated in the first round of the Class 7A playoffs.  

The Roughers finished with a mark of 0-7 in 2020. It was the first winless season in school history. 

Greenwood, AR appears on the Muskogee schedule for the first time. The Bulldogs finished the 2020 season a perfect 14-0 and Class 6A state champions. 

Last 7 Years:

2020 – 0-7

2019 – 8-3

2018 – 6-5

2017 – 5-5 

2016 – 9-2

2015 – 3-7 

2014 – 3-7 

OFFENSE

“Season of Change” perhaps describes the 2021 outlook for the Roughers. The obvious change before any game is played includes a new leader for the Muskogee football program as Travis Hill takes over as head coach along with a staff that has already instilled a sense of energy and high expectations seeking to wash away the taste of last year’s 0-7 record, the first winless season in the school’s history. “Without question, we’re a young team but we are a team with some excellent talent,” said Hill. Muskogee returns six starters to the offensive lineup that is being redesigned to match the speed on this year’s roster as new offensive coordinator Chris Risenhoover, who was the head coach at Stigler for the past 12 seasons, brings his high-octane offense to the Roughers camp. It’s up front that counts for Muskogee where Vernon Pepiakatah (6-1, 285, So.) proved to have the size and strength to play on the front line along with James Moore (6-1, 285, Sr.) to provide experience in a starter’s role bolstered by the efforts of Jase Garrett (5-11, 250, Jr.), Keenan Adams (5-11, 245, Sr.) and Tate Hebb (5-9, 200, Sr.). VYPE Top 100 standout Isaiah Givens (6-1, 190, Sr.) will once again be the workhorse in Muskogee’s ground attack along with Brandon Tolbert (5-8, 205, Sr.) while Jayden Bell (5-7,160, Jr.) brings quickness and sure-handed skills to the receiver unit along with brother duo of Kayden (5-10, 155, So.) and Kennedy McGee (5-10, 175, Sr.) . The strength and agility of Anthony Watson (5-11, 190, So.) gives an added playmaker at tight end as well as Blade Todd (6-1, 185, Sr.). Walker Newton (5-10, 150, Jr.), who started six games at quarterback in 2020, has the experience factor on his side amidst a battle for the starter’s role this year with Jacob Jones (6-1, 170, So.) and Jamarion Ficklin (6-0, 165, Fr.). “Walker has experience on Friday nights while the other two know how to win,” said Hill referencing the success of Jones and Ficklin in the junior highs the past two years. “We’ll see how things play out by the start of the season.” With the depth of three placekickers Skylar Onebear (5-9, 160, Sr.), Carter Stewart (5-9, 145, Jr.) and Braxton Fields (5-10, 180, Sr.), the Roughers expect to add to the point parade.

DEFENSE

Experience under pressure is an advantage for the 2021 Muskogee defensive unit as eight players have game experience.  VYPE Top 100 nominee Devon Whitfield (6-0, 215, Sr.) and Teyon Brewer (6-3, 230, So.) continue to display an aggressive nature at defensive end while LaShawn Manns (5-9, 220, Sr.) will require attention at the nose guard position in the 3-3 stack alignment. Linebackers Ronald Warren (6-1, 195, Jr.) DeShawn Smith (5-10, 170, Jr.) and Hunter Hess (6-0, 205, Sr.) will be charged to create game changing highlights along with K.D. Freeman (6-0, 190, Jr.) while Isaiah Givens displays his athleticism against the run as well as in pass coverage. “We call his (Givens) position ‘Rougher’ because we expect Isaiah to make plays against the pass as well as stopping the run,” said Hill of the two-way starter. VYPE Top 100 selection Keondre Johns (6-0, 165, Sr.) is a game changer with his talents at cornerback along with Terryan Miles (5-10, 150, Jr.) and newcomer Israel Martin (5-9, 155, So.). Ayden Kemp (5-10, 170, Jr.) and Chris Gaines (6-1, 175, Sr.) should bring intensity at safety along with Deyon Bowler (5-9, 155, So.). “There’s an energy of desire for not just doing the right thing but also do the right skills that make us a better football team,” said Hill. “We just have to keep getting better day by day.”

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