Broken Arrow Express
The leadership presence Cade Yeager has can be felt among his Broken Arrow teammates when they take the field. The Tigers’ second-year starting quarterback is known to the guys as ‘Papa.’
“I embrace the role,” says Yeager, who is entering his senior year. “I’m like a big brother to all those guys. I’m like ‘Papa Yeager’ because I’ve been through it all. I’ve played in the game – the big game. So they look up to me. How I go is how the team goes.”
That big game would be the Class 6AI state championship game last year, when the Tigers battled Jenks.
In 2015, Yeager (6-2, 202) completed 133-of-204 passes for 1,838 yards with only five picks. He also produced two rushing touchdowns. Broken Arrow finished 11-2 with the second loss coming in that state title game to Jenks. The Tigers drew to within 16-14 at halftime after falling behind by two touchdowns but succumbed to a 35-14 defeat.
The sting of that loss has carried through the offseason and there is nothing more Yeager and the Tigers would like better than to return to that big stage.
“That was one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with,” he says. “That was heartbreaking to get there and be in the game, going into halftime with a good shot to win it, yet, not do it. We’re really motivated to get back to the state championship. That’s the goal every year to go win the state championship, be the first ones to bring it back to Broken Arrow. That’s the goal – bring the Gold Ball back to B.A.
“It has definitely been a big motivational tool throughout the summer,” Yeager says. “They’ll put pictures up in the weight room with Jenks celebrating the state championship trophy. It will probably be the biggest motivational tool through the season until we get back there for the chance to play for another one again.”
Yeager is considered one of the top signal-callers in the area. He gives credit to everyone around him, but he knows his assets.
“My ability to throw on the move,” he says. “I’m kind of a smarter quarterback, I’m kind of like my offensive coordinator on the field. My coach will ask me ‘what are you seeing?,’ ‘what are your ideas?’ You basically got to be a coach on the field.”
Twenty starters from Broken Arrow’s 6AI runner-up team were lost to graduation last year. Gone are the likes of Kort Lewis, Devin Kruse and big lineman Rowdy Frederick, but Yeager is optimistic that the team will reload.
“We’re real young. We’ve got a lot of new athletes,” Yeager says. “They just don’t know what it’s like to play on Friday nights yet. We’re going to be a whole lot better every week as the season progresses. Hopefully, we can make another run for the state title.”
“At receiver, we got Corben Chambers (5-7, 155, junior, running back/corner back). He’s a real speedy guy. He’s not the tallest, but he’ll go up and get the ball for you. He’s a deep threat guy,” Yeager says. “Brandon Williams (5-11, 190, junior, defensive back), he’s extremely athletic, he can go up and get the ball just about against anybody, and we got Branden Hildebrand (6-3, 200, senior, tight end) too.”
One question for B.A. on offense will be the line, where the size of Frederick will be missed.
“Rowdy is very hard to replace,” Yeager says. “He is 6-4 and 333 pounds. As a quarterback, he is your best friend over there, blocking for your blind side. But we have an offensive line that is strong. Probably the biggest thing they are compared from last year is they are real football smart and know where to go.
On defense, the Tigers’ return Carder Key (6-2, 215, senior, linebacker), Skyler Haynes (6-1, 200, senior, defensive lineman/safety), C. J. Myers (5-10, 156, senior, cornerback) Devin Clayton (6-2, 215, junior, wide receiver), Williams, Chambers and Tucker Dunlap (5-11, 180, junior, linebacker).
“Guys like that will step up making tackles on Friday nights.
“Look out for us,” Yeager says.