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Midtown Monitor

Coach Brad Calip Optimistic for Second Hornet Football Season

Sports Writer

TALENTED RECEIVER: A Booker T. Washington receiver leaps to catch the ball in practice. The Hornets are expected to contend with Bixby for the District 6AII-2 championship.

Courtesy BTW Athletic Dept.

Brad Calip and his Booker T. Washington Hornets have high expectations for 2017 after enduring a 6-5 finish and a playoff appearance during his first season as coach last year.

Calip was familiar with the program coming in, so the transition was smooth although it took awhile, he says.

He was hired to take over the Booker T. reins on March 14, 2016, after being an assistant for seven years under Allan Trimble at Jenks. Calip also knows Darrell Hall, who coached the last Hornets’ team to win state back in 2010.  Hall is now the head coach of Midwest City, who the Hornets face in their second game.

“Of course, when I got on with Coach Trimble, we used to scrimmage these guys all the time. So, I kind of knew Booker T,” Calip says. “I always did my homework. You’re going to have some great athletes here. But the deal is, you have a nice school to connect with the Tulsa public. Everything is kind of equal. The downside of Booker T is it is not a community like a Jenks or an Ada, where you have your own school and everybody rallies. You got to fight to get in here. I got kids from south Tulsa or north Tulsa, so it’s a different type of culture here.”

The first coaching job for Calip came in 2004 when he was an assistant at Bishop Kelley. He was on the coaching staff at the University of Tulsa the next two seasons under Steve Kragthorpe. So, he was part of TU’s Liberty Bowl Championship squad in 2005. He was also on the coaching staff under Kirk Fridrich, in his first season at Union in 2007.

“As an assistant, things happen and you don’t get criticized by the parents as much,” Calip says. “You don’t have to deal with that. You just coach your position and that’s it.

“When you’re the head coach, everything is fired back at you,” Calip says. “That’s what I had to adjust to, from media, from parents unhappy with their kids playing, parents thinking that their kids should be on scholarship, so you have to deal with all that turmoil as a head coach. It’s your program, and everything is reflected on you. You have to define how you want the team to turn out.”

Calip and the Hornets are hoping to win state.

In the arsenal is Phillip Wheatley, who will play quarterback. Junior Rylan McQuarters is expected to start at running back this year. In the wide receiver corps is D.J. Jones, Dewayne Cooks and Javion Hester. Offensive lineman returning are Brinden Shepard, Gavin Chalk, Jamond Hudson and Tony Carpenter.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chalk and Hudson are among those expected to play across the line. Jonathan Brown is expected to play nose guard. Kiero Petross returns at end. Among the linebacking unit are Jason Harris, Trace Linn and Garrick Jackson. Defensive backs are Cooks, Jones, Dax Hill and Jalen Moses
McQuarters is expected to return punts.

“He has his dad’s DNA,” Calip says.

“This is a place where you have a tradition of great players. It started in the 1960s and it still continues now,” Calip says. “You’re going to have these athletes when you are coaching at Booker T. and I’m just fortunate to be at a good place, where I got a collective group of kids who want to make a run at the gold ball.”

Booker T. Washington opened up at Edmond Santa Fe on Aug. 25. It is scheduled to host Midwest City on Sept. 1, then it’s a trip the next week to the Cajun State, where they will meet Monroe (La.) at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport. Throughout the remainder of the month, they host Shawnee (Sept. 15), travel to Ponca City (Sept. 22) and meet Sapulpa (Sept. 29).

The game at Edmond Santa Fe, along with the matchups with Midwest City, Monroe (La.), along with those against Muskogee, Sand Springs and three-time 6AII state champion Bixby are expected to be the biggest games on the Hornets’ schedule.

“If we stay healthy and don’t make mistakes, we have a chance to win,” Calip says. 

Updated 09-06-2017

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