The Mustang Bronco offense is explosive.
Actually, it’s phast.
Physical and fast is the team’s mantra. The Broncos take advantage of physicality, speed, and opponent mistakes. And although the offensive unit will be inexperienced to start, it has the talent to light up scoreboards once again in 2023.
Mustang coach Lee Blankenship and offensive coordinator Cody McDaniel have put together one of the most dynamic schemes in Class 6A-1. Last year, the Broncos racked up over 6,000 yards at 556 per game and averaged 39 points.
This year, for the most part, Mustang’s offense will feature new faces, but also some familiar names.
After losing a three-year starter at quarterback, two Division-1 wide receivers, three college running backs, and three college linemen, the team will look to retool and continue the momentum guiding the program over the last four years.
Four players have battled it out during the spring and summer for Mustang’s starting quarterback job.
Trajan Williamson (Jr.) returns after backing up Tristen Russell last year and has already been named the starter in the team’s ‘Draft’ package, which Blankenship says the Broncos stayed in for 90-percent of their playoff game against Jenks and 75-percent of the time against Union.
Trajan Williamson (Sr.) delivers a pass during Mustang’s team camp this summer. Williamson is in a four-man battle for the starting quarterback job heading into the 2023 season. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
At 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Williamson has the body type of a D-1 tight end and has the running ability and arm talent to handle the team’s run-pass-option philosophy. He also has a firm grasp on the scheme overall, something Blankenship says gives him an advantage entering the season.
Jake Blice (Sr.), a transfer from Westmoore, is also in the running for reps at QB.
After passing for nearly 1,000 yards for the Jaguars as a junior, Blice has the Friday night experience that could give him an edge as the season progresses. He also started seven games as a sophomore and threw for over 1,200 yards.
“He reminds me a lot of Tristan Russell in that he is kind of an off-schedule kind of player,” Blankenship said. “He can scramble and get out of sacks and is great at the escape drill. He can also make plays with his arms and legs.”
Mikey Gow (Jr.), a transfer from Allen High School in Texas, has already made headlines for his ability to throw with both arms and could also take reps as the team’s signal caller.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound ambidextrous junior is working to learn the team’s offense but has already shown his skillset with big plays in team workouts and scrimmages.
“Mikey has shown some moments and flashes where you’re like ‘wow’ that was unbelievable,” Blankenship said. “He is fighting like crazy to learn the ins and outs of what we like to do. But once he gets it down, he’s another guy we have full confidence in putting out there on Friday nights.”
Tyson Pogi (Fr.), son of former Oklahoma State quarterback Aso Pogi, has also been competing for the starting job.
Pogi helped lead one of the best eighth grade teams in Mustang history to an undefeated season in 2022 and has been given the opportunity to compete for varsity reps as a freshman. He is also a standout basketball player who should compete for playing time on the court.
“Tyson has the ability to be one of the top quarterback prospects in the state,” Blankenship said. “He could play as a freshman at the 6A-1 level and that says something about his ability right there. He has so much arm talent and is definitely in the battle.”
When Bryance Sanders (Sr.) was a sophomore, Blankenship wasn’t sure he would work his way into the rotation.
Entering 2023 however, Sanders is leading the room. Blankenship says the 6-foot-1, 200-pound senior has transformed his body and is one of the fastest players on the team. He rushed for 158 yards on 19 carries last year, averaging 8.3 per.
“He has continued getting better and has been waiting for his turn,” Blankenship said. “We fully expect him to have a huge season.”
Bryance Sanders (Sr.) has earned the nod at running back for the Mustang Broncos. Sanders averaged over eight yards on 19 carries in 2022. (Photo by Shelly Holinsworth / Freelance Action Photography)
Jack Vaughn (Sr.) and Taven Brown (Fr.) are also expected to help replace Mustang’s three-headed machine from 2022, which included college backs Jay Bedford, Pryce Burgess, and Antone Prince.
Blankenship said Vaughn had a phenomenal camp and has great vision and the ability to make quick moves and cuts. He was asked to move into the backfield after playing slot receiver last season and has made himself into a weapon.
Brown is one of the Mustang freshmen to keep an eye on. The younger cousin of Oklahoma Sooners defensive back and former Bronco Jacobe Johnson, Brown has the ability to make just as big of an impact over the next four seasons.
“He has a chance to be the biggest prospect that Mustang has ever had,” Blankenship said of the underclassman. “That’s saying a lot considering who is cousin is. He is ready to play 6A-1 varsity football Week 1 of his freshman year and that should tell you enough.”
L.B. Hayes (Sr.) is one of Mustang’s key returning players on the offensive side, racking up 507 receiving yards on 39 receptions with two touchdowns in 2022.
Hayes, who Blankenship says is “better and more comfortable” coming into his senior year, played as the third receiver alongside Johnson and now Air Force freshman Keegan Bass. This season, Hayes will play more than just a supporting role and will be looked upon as one of the team leaders.
L.B. Hayes (Sr.) leaps for a catch during Mustang’s team camp. Hayes racked up over 500 receiving yards in 2022 and is looking to become more of a primary target in the team’s offense. (Photo by Ron Lane / Lane Images)
Jaden and Jaytee Johnson, the sophomore twin brothers of Jacobe, are set to pick up where their older sibling left off.
The twins totaled just three catches last season but did see experience as freshmen. They have also been on the scoring end of big play after big play during scrimmages and camps. Blankenship says it won’t be long until they start receiving the same hype as Jacobe.
“Jaytee is playing the position Jacobe did while Jaden is playing where Keegan lined up,” Blankenship said. “Both have been big time and when the lights have come on this offseason, they’ve taken it to another level.
“Neither have any offers yet. The key word is yet.”
Tymere Hollingsworth (Sr.), Ben Patkowski (Jr.), and Carl Ripley (Sr.) are also expected to see time the rotation and all three bring a different dynamic to the table according to Blankenship.
Hollingsworth and Patkoswski earned playing time across the 2022 season while Ripley rostered out as a backup quarterback. Blankenship credits all three for their hard work, especially Ripley who “unselfishly” moved to receiver with the knowledge of a quarterback.
“Same song, third verse,” joked Blankenship, whose squad returns two starters on the offensive line, including Austin Reed (Sr.) and Sam Pritz (Sr.).
Reed lines up at left tackle after being named honorable mention All-State last season. Pritz will man the left guard position after an All-COAC nod in 2022.
“Those two are the guys,” Blankenship said. “Their leadership has been instrumental for us this spring and summer and even last year. Both are potential All-State players and provide the experience we’ll need especially early in the season.”
Battles have been ongoing for the other three lineman spots.
2022 Honorable Mention All-State nominee Austin Reed (Sr.) returns as one of two starters along Mustang’s offensive line in 2023. The Broncos will be inexperienced, but explosive. (Photo by Shelly Holinsworth / Freelance Action Photography)
Antoine Bogus (Jr.) played defensive line as a sophomore, but Blankenship says he has the potential to be a “big-time” tackle on the offensive side. At 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, Bogus moves well, has long arms, and has improved throughout the spring and summer.
Blake Davis (Jr.) and Griffin Murray (Sr.) have been exchanging reps at center, each looking to land the starting spot at center. Blankenship says it has been a good battle between the two.
Gavin Lyon (Jr.) and Cody Love (Sr.) are both in the mix for the starting right guard job.
“Gavin is your prototypical 6-foot-2 6A guard with good feet and will kick and hit you in the teeth,” Blankenship said. “Love is a little undersized but battles his tail off and every day does something that makes us look at each other and say ‘wow’. We wish we could find a way to get both on the field.”
Connor Hawkins (Jr.) is also in the mix for either a starting spot on the offensive line or a place in the rotation.
‘Senior’ seems to be one of the key perquisites for playing the Bronco back position over the last two seasons.
This year it’s Jonah Keele, Cameron Graham, and Aden Monzon’s turn. As well as junior Houston Meeks.
Similar to Sanders, Keele has transformed his body and has learned the offense at the same level as the team’s quarterbacks. Blankenship touted his high football IQ and his ability to perform the required duties of the Bronco back, including blocking defensive ends, running through linebackers, and making catches against defensive backs.
Graham, who has great size and strength, moved from defensive back to the offensive side and has picked it up nicely according to Blankenship.
Monzon, who his head coach says is one of the smartest players on the team, has worked his way up the depth chart after playing junior varsity in 2022.
Meeks stands at 6-foot-2 with long arms and great hand-eye coordination. He plays with great technique and is a threat in both the pass and run game.
“All four can get the job done. Each has a unique skillset, but we feel like we can win with any of them in the lineup. That’s a compliment to each of them.”