By SHAWN YORKS
• Daily Leader
FORGAN, Okla. — When teams prepare to play the Forgan Bulldogs, they think about what they can do to stop Rhett Radcliff, Matt Morris and crew. As well they should. Forgan has scored 230 points in the last five games.
They don’t think too much about what Forgan’s going to do to stop them.
Maybe they should.
The Bulldogs have given up just 30 points in the last five games and 131 total in 12 games — that’s about 11 per game. And along the way they held Helena Timberlake to six points. Timberlake averaged 51 points per game at the time.
The defense was the key to some of Forgan’s biggest wins this season, including victories over defending Class B runner-up Canton (34-33), Shattuck (30-12) and Sharon-Mutual (14-8).
“If it hadn’t been for defense we’d have lost the Sharon-Mutual game,” said head coach Doug Bowles.
So what makes defensive coordinator Jim Henry’s defense so good?
“It’s speed and quickness,” Bowles said. “After the Shattuck game, coach Bullard said ‘You guys are just so quick.’ They’re not used to getting caught from the back and we were catching them from behind with our defensive ends and that just doesn’t happen.
“Coach Henry’s done a real good job of making adjustments.”
Heading into the Timberlake game, Bowles was worried. The Tigers scored 36 against DCLA after the Eagles had held Forgan to just eight. A couple key defenders didn’t play for Forgan, and Bowles was forced to start a sophomore, Jake Regier, at corner.
“Against some really good skill people, that’s pretty scary,” Bowles said. “But Jake stepped up and did a really good job.”
Forgan averages nearly 70 tackles and two sacks per game. Rhett Radcliff has four interceptions, Matt Morris and Tayler Eagan two each.
Eagan and Tanner Jones average 10-15 tackles per game and the Radcliff twins, Ryan and Rhett, each average 5-10 tackles per game, as well.
The only blemish has been a 42-8 loss to Friday’s opponent, Deer Creek-Lamont.
“DCLA came over here and we didn’t play very good and they played really good,” Bowles said. “I thought we were ready to play. But we came and we let them take the fight to us.”
As a reminder heading into Friday’s rematch, Henry has taped “42-8” across the Forgan logo on his baseball cap.
“I made them watch that film,” Bowles said. “I think that (loss) kind of got their attention that they’re going to have to show up and play every week or you’re not going to get it done.”