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In football battle of city high schools, U.S. Grant edges Seeworth Academy


By Patrick B. McGuigan


OKLAHOMA CITY – In a classic defensive struggle between two city schools, the U.S. Grant Generals emerged victorious over the tenacious Eagles of Justice Alma Wilson Seeworth Academy. The contest was closer than the 19-6 final margin might indicate.

Grant took the kickoff to a fast start, with Cesar Payen snagging a deep snap to scamper up the middle. He moved behind good blocking, then raced down the left sideline to score.

After Grant’s failed two-point conversion attempt, the Eagles’ offense tried to get down to business with Tre’ Mason’s five-yard scamper, but a fumble ensued.

Grant fashioned a short drive of several plays, including Quayshan Robertson’s pass receptions, and runs by Martavion Jones. Jones scored with 8:50 left in the first stanza, to make it 12-0. Showing signs of subsequent effectiveness, the Eagles defense blocked the extra point kick.

The Eagles’ defense kept the Generals from adding to their earlier margin for more than half the contest, earning eight straight defensive stops — including five “three-and-outs.” Gerard Hickman was effective in pass defense, making one good move after another against the Generals’ receiving corps. In the second quarter, Seeworth defenders repeatedly penetrated well into the Grant backfield, forcing frequent losses and, in one instance, tackling the quarterback 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

On offense, Seeworth’s Mason ran effectively but had a 10-yard scamper taken away in the second quarter after a holding call. Eagles’ Quarterback Keyshawn Franklyn added to the Seeworth threat, but the Eagles could not make it into the red zone. Ruben Avila began to shine on both sides of the ball as a linebacker and running back.

Franklyn was shaken up by strong hits meted out from Grant’s defensive line. Consequently, Tremon Brown and Emmanuel Singleton began to alternate running the Eagles offense. A power-T backfield (quarterback in shotgun formation with backs at each side) showed some effectiveness.

After trailing 12-0 at the half, the Eagles’ defense gained repeated stops.

A sustained Seeworth drive of eight plays and three first downs ate up several minutes at the end of the third quarter and early in the fourth. Behind good blocking, the march featured runs came from Mason, Franklyn and Avila. The latter fashioned a dramatic 32-yard jaunt up the middle and then down the right side, the longest Seeworth gain of the night.

Singleton took the reins as gridiron general as Seeworth edged into the red zone. The lanky Singleton appeared to muff a deep snap, but quickly picked the ball up to race through the middle for an important gain and a key first down.

Hickman contributed to that drive, with a critical carry for good yards. In the end, one yard away from pay dirt, Singleton forced his way into the end zone behind a wall of blocking Eagles. With 10:15 left in the contest, Seeworth trailed only 12-6.

Grant’s numerical advantage, with some 40 players suited up, began to wear down the Seeworth ranks of 20. With less than a minute remaining, the Generals’ Robertson had a beautiful run wide to the right and into the end zone, scoring to make it 18-6. A successful conversion kick yielded the final margin.

The contest unfolded on the Gridiron at Frederick A. Douglass High School’s Moses F. Miller Stadium in east Oklahoma City.

Under Coach Robert Walker, the maroon & grey bedecked Seeworth Eagles play football in the independent ranks, and have a record of 1-5 this season. Assistant coaches are Brian Sexton and Makana McCarty. The squad has two games this week, including a road trip to Oklahoma Christian Schools.

Besides Hickman, Mason, Franklyn, Avila, Brown and Singleton, contributors to the Eagles success included Toriano Harrison, Calese Medina, Jaquay Wisby, Fontaine Thomas, Mario Mason, Curtis Thomas, Floyd Burton, Roderick Linzy, Tramell Sunderland, Davion Curtis-Lidell, Marquis Moore-Kyles, David Urza, Gage Grey, Sherod Gilbreath, TiShawn Thompson, Anthony Vaughn and Quintre Hinshaw.

The Eagles cheer squad includes Malaysia Glover, Tierra Streeter, Aliya Bishop, Shanautaica Farris, Kaylo Fuller, Markiesha Short and Kendra Jackson.

As a result of last Thursday’s win, the Grant Generals improved to 1-5. Head coach is Matt Lane, assisted by Dan Maly, Donald Worth, Jessica Moore, and Andy Chisko. This week, the squad faces OKC Legion.

Besides Payen, Robertson and Jones, red-and-white uniformed players contributing to the Generals success were Wayman Thomas, Dillion Coddington, Chris Santos, Roland Pichardo, Kiwaun Myers, Derreck Williamson, Mike Powell, Sam Brown, Alfredo Hernandez, Davis Ashley, Brady Benedict, Jalif Barkus, J’nari Pendleton, Carlos Ruvalcabo, Andrew Meyer, Chris Black, Keison Martin, Justin Powell, Daniel Misquez, Mason Amis, Nate Barr, Rafael Cisneros, Luis Roman, Genaro Chavez, Ronald Bacon, Ruben Corona, Samuel Davis, Mario Salazar, Luis Cisneros, Cameron Butler, Alfredo Padilla, Manuel Avila, Quayde Jones, Mario Melendez, Zimmerick Britton, Richardo Pinedo, and Erik Talamantez.

Seeworth is a public charter alternative school, founded in 1995 by the late Alma Wilson, the first woman in state history to serve on the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Janet Grigg is superintendent and director for the Seeworth system, which serves approximately 400 students from grades 3 to 12.

Seeworth’s high school principal is Tarrence Rodgers. The “JAWSA” system operates under the vision Justice Wilson articulated in an historic speech in the 1990s, when she called on city and state leaders to “see the worth of every child.”

Grant bears the name of Ulysses S. Grant, the Union general who, after appointment of President Abraham Lincoln, ultimately led U.S. Army forces to victory in the Civil War in spring 1965. Although unsuccessful in two terms as president of the United States, Grant was known as Liberator of the slaves for his role in the end of involuntary servitude in America.

Grant High is a city public school, where Robert Neu is system superintendent. Clay Vinyard is principal of the school, where a renaissance in student achievement has emerged in recent years.

DISCLOSURE: A journalist and educator, McGuigan is now teaching part-time at Seeworth.


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