Plum­ley’s night ends drought

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

He’s not sure how far his team will go this year, but El Reno coach Chuck Atchison knows its at least head­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

Af­ter nine years, El Reno ended its play­off drought on Fri­day night as it took down Law­ton MacArthur 53-42 in a wild shootout. “Ev­ery­body is pretty ex­cited around here,”

says Atchison. “To get this turned around feels like we are tak­ing that first big step as a pro­gram.”

El Reno quar­ter­back Do­rian Plum­ley was the star of the night. The sopho­more rushed for an as­tound­ing 375 yards and three touch­downs while pass­ing for 57 more yards and an­other score.

“All week long peo­ple were telling me that if we win, then we were in,” Plum­ley said. “Peo­ple kept ask­ing me, ‘What are you go­ing to do.’ So what we did was game plan to run it down their throats.”

Since its last play­off ap­pear­ance in 2009, El Reno has suf­fered through medi­ocrity. In a stretch from 2014 to 2016, the team only won five games in three sea­sons.

The work that’s gone in to get­ting El Reno back to Week 11 isn’t any­thing sur­pris­ing says Atchison. Play­ers have ded­i­cated them­selves to the process, learned how to run a quick-strike of­fense and the team has ben­e­fited from a surge of ta­lented young play­ers.

Of the 22 El Reno starters, only five are se­niors.

Plum­ley’s devel­op­ment at quar­ter­back has been huge for El Reno this sea­son. As the year has gone on, the 6-foot-1 play­maker has only con­tin­ued to grow.

“Early in the sea­son he felt a lot of the pres­sure and ex­pec­ta­tion lev­els,” Atchison said. “But as the year has gone on, he’s ma­tured a ton and his lead­er­ship skills have re­ally come to the fore­front.”

On the sea­son, Plum­ley has thrown for 1,121 yards and 14 touch­downs while rush­ing for more than 1,200 and 16 more scores.

“Our goal was to make it to this point,” Plum­ley said. “We had to strap up and make it hap­pen.”

While Plum­ley is one of those young play­ers lead­ing the way on of­fense, sopho­more line­backer Dar­ius Moore is star­ring on de­fense.

“All that hard work we put in, we knew we were do­ing it for a rea­son,” Moore said. “We were do­ing it for the town and fam­ily.”

Af­ter lead­ing El Reno to a 5-5 record in his first sea­son as head coach last year, Atchison said he’s ex­cited for his kids to grab this taste of postseason prom­ise.

Even if it means trav­el­ling to Class 5A No. 1 Carl Al­bert for its open­inground game.

“This can get your guys to be­lieve that they be­long,” Atchison said. “When you’ve been down so long and at the bot­tom of the bar­rel, it’s hard to climb out. But this is a great step.”

Adam Kemp akemp@ ok­la­homan.com

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