They need only to look up the road to Hightower Memorial Stadium on Friday nights to get a glimpse of the future.
It is what they spend all their time preparing for now.
Their big brothers are 2-0 on the season defeating the Clinton Red Tornadoes and Vernon Lions with ease and after Tuesday’s game, the Altus Junior High School eighth-grade Dawgs found themselves in the same position.
The Elk City Junior High School squad came to Altus seeking a win, but could not make it happen. The Dawgs have been bringing their A game since the beginning of the season and they show absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Although the Dawgs struggled early, fumbling the opening kickoff and allowing the Elks to recover, they made the necessary adjustment and forced an Elks fumble just two plays later. The Dawgs sought to redeem themselves and take advantage of an opportunity to gain an early lead on the Elks.
It did not take long.
Just one play later, fullback Riley Barrington hit a gap through the middle of the line and accelerated up the field 48 yards for a touchdown to give the Dawgs a 6-0 lead after a failed conversion attempt with 7:02 remaining in the first quarter.
The Dawgs recovered their onside kick, taking possession and driving down the field in two minutes before quarterback Raul Facundo took the ball into the end zone from a yard out. The Dawgs missed the conversion, giving them a 12-0 lead over the Elks with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Although it looked like the Dawgs had control of the game, the Elks battled back and caught a break when their quarterback found a receiver wide open down the field for a 42-yard touchdown. They missed the conversion, but cut the Dawgs’ lead to six with 4:02 left in the first quarter.
Altus received the kickoff and put together a long drive down the field and taking time off the clock to keep the Elks’ offense on the sideline. It was at the 7:06 mark in the second quarter that Facundo took the snap and drove it six yards to the end zone with a quarterback sneak to take an 18-6 lead after a failed conversion attempt.
Over the next six minutes, the Elks and Dawgs traded the football back-and-forth with neither team putting points on the board. Unfortunately for the Dawgs, the Elks took their final possession and hit paydirt when the quarterback again found a receiver deep down the field for a 44-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left in the half.
The Elks missed the conversion, but cut the Dawgs lead to six again.
The second half was a defensive tug-of-war with the Altus defense completely shutting down the Elks offense.
Altus’ offense drove the ball down the field only to ultimately turn the ball over on downs.
The Elks fought back late, trying to get something going with two minutes left in the game, but Facundo stepped in front of an Elks’ receiver and intercepted a pass at the opponent’s 30-yard line to end any chance of a comeback.
Altus was able to run out the clock and secure the win to get to 2-0 on the season.
Barrington led the Dawg’s offensive attack with 76 yards on six carries, while Latheon Patterson added another 48 yards on seven carries.
J.T. Leyja, Barrington, Patterson, Jaden Revilla, and Facundo once again led the Dawgs’ defense, punishing the opposing offense and making plays when they mattered the most.
The Elks blanked the seventh-grade Dawgs 24-0. Both AJHS teams are scheduled to play Lawton MacArthur in Lawton on Tuesday.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.