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Huskies seeking redemption

Pawhuska freshman running back John Bighorse, No. 82, looks for blocks from teammates Marshall Tolson, No. 88, and Connor McNeil, No. 12, during the Huskies’ home football game Friday against Metro Christian. PHS will open district play Friday versus Caney Valley. Jack Buzbee/Journal-Capital
Pawhuska freshman running back John Bighorse, No. 82, looks for blocks from teammates Marshall Tolson, No. 88, and Connor McNeil, No. 12, during the Huskies’ home football game Friday against Metro Christian. PHS will open district play Friday versus Caney Valley. Jack Buzbee/Journal-Capital
Eli Florence of Pawhuska takes off with a kickoff Friday night during the Huskies’ home football game with Metro Christian. Leading the way for the PHS return is Zalin Edwards, right. This Friday, the Huskies play district foe Caney Valley with kickoff at Ramona set for 7 p.m. Jack Buzbee/Journal-Capital
Eli Florence of Pawhuska takes off with a kickoff Friday night during the Huskies’ home football game with Metro Christian. Leading the way for the PHS return is Zalin Edwards, right. This Friday, the Huskies play district foe Caney Valley with kickoff at Ramona set for 7 p.m. Jack Buzbee/Journal-Capital

High school football’s second season begins Friday night for the Pawhuska Huskies, who will travel to Ramona for the opening game of their Class 2A District 7 schedule against the Caney Valley Trojans.

“Everything that has happened up until now is meaningless as far as reaching our main goal is concerned,” said PHS head coach Bob Craig. “We’ve been telling them from the start that we can look at our schedule as three seasons — the early games, the districts and the playoffs.”

After narrow losses its first three contests, the Pawhuska squad was run through the meat grinder last week by Tulsa 3A powerhouse Metro Christian. The unbeaten Patriots sent wave after talented wave at the Huskies and seized their third straight win by shutout, 44-0. A good-sized crowd at PHS’s Ormand Beach Stadium watched the home team hold Metro scoreless in the first quarter and then implode in the second.

The Huskies, who took a 47-0 whipping from the Pats last year at Tulsa, continued to battle the larger foe. Pawhuska defenders forced three turnovers, while giving up just one (an interception that was returned for a touchdown).

“Give them (the Patriots) credit,” Craig said afterward as he praised the effort put forth by the Huskies. “They changed up their coverage and it paid off.”

This week’s matchup with Caney Valley provides a perfect opener for the second PHS season. The Trojans are winless, at 0-4 — same as the Huskies. And history heavily favors Pawhuska in the area rivalry with Caney Valley. Kickoff in Ramona is set for 7 p.m. Friday.

A year ago, Caney Valley posted its first-of-the-millennium gridiron victory over the Huskies — holding on for a 22-15 triumph at Pawhuska. The Trojans went on to their first postseason appearance in decades. PHS — despite a losing record — made the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.

This season has seem the Huskies remain in serious contention to the bitter end, at least in their three earlier outings. And, with a little help from the other team (or the officials, or the great football commissioner upstairs), they could be 2-2 or 3-1.

On the other sideline, things have been a little bit one-sided for the Trojans since they fell to Class A Barnsdall in the opener, 20-7. Caney Valley was shut out (20-0) by 3A Kellyville and demolished (60-6) by Wyandotte — with all three losses registered at Ramona. Last week, district co-favorite Adair crushed the Trojans, 59-6.

Pawhuska was the odd-team-out when District 2A-7 competition got underway last Friday. In addition to the Warriors’ win over visiting Caney Valley, the other co-favorite, the Nowata Ironmen, blasted Oklahoma Union (48-0) and Chouteau knocked off Chelsea, 30-20.

The district slate for this week will feature a matchup of the two powerhouses as Adair visits Nowata for a clash of the unbeatens.

District 2A-7

Standings

School W/L D W/L Pts Opp D Pts

NOWATA 4-0 1-0 139 26 193

ADAIR 3-1 1-0 172 53 362

CHOUTEAU 3-1 1-0 102 91 453

PAWHUSKA 0-4 0-0 5 121 223

CHELSEA 1-3 0-1 62 132 447

OKLA. UNION 1-3 0-1 48 117 136

CANEY VALLEY 0-4 0-1 19 159 432

PHS Pasted by Pats

At Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium last Friday night, Metro Christian of Tulsa made believers of the Pawhuska High School Huskies with a 44-0 victory that kept the Patriots undefeated and extended their consecutive shutout string to three games.

The Huskies held the Patriots scoreless for nearly 15 minutes at the start of the game before the Patriots exploded for four touchdowns in a span of 5 1/2 minutes of the second quarter.

A 38-yard pass set up a short run for the first Metro tally three minutes into the second quarter. Less than two minutes later, the Patriots struck again two plays after they blocked a punt deep in Huskie territory. Pawhuska’s next possession ended with another blocked punt and led to the second rushing TD in the game for Metro running back Brody Wagner.

Two minutes before halftime, Metro Christian (4-0) boosted its advantage to 27-0 with a 28-yard touchdown pass. A low snap resulted in the Pats’ only unsuccessful after-TD conversion of the night. Placekicker Luke Bailey finished five for five on PAT kicks and also booted a 21-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Pawhuska forced Metro to punt for the first time on the initial series of the second half. The Huskie defense held the Patriots on downs to end their next possession. A 15-yard pass completion for PHS was followed by an interception and 45-yard return for a touchdown by Cash Jackson (who had caught a 10-yard TD pass earlier for the Pats).

The lone turnover of the night by Pawhuska made the score 34-0. Metro also was intercepted once — with 16 second left in the second quarter when PHS safety Bryce Wilson made a leaping pickoff in the end zone to snuff the Patriot threat. In the opening quarter, Wilson had forced a Metro fumble that was recovered for PHS by Donovan Guy. A third-quarter Patriot fumble was forced Eli Florence and recovered by Huskie teammate Sean Valencia.

“We had a set goal to create one turnover in every quarter and we accomplished it for the first three (periods),” said head coach Bob Craig of the Huskies (0-4).

The veteran coach gave credit to the Patriots for an outstanding defensive effort. He said the PHS attack was hindered by a depleted offensive line, especially late in the contest.

“In the fourth quarter, we just wanted to try and run out the clock,” the veteran coach said. “But, we couldn’t because we had so many linemen hurt.”

For the first time this season, Huskie quarterback Zalin Edwards was held to less than 100 yards in passing. The mobile PHS senior threw 16 times and completed six passes (to five different receivers) for 49 yards.

PHS two-way starter Taylor Priest was back in action versus Metro after missing the Hominy game with sore ribs caused by a hard shot the previous week at Dewey. Despite the injury, Priest went back on the field to pick up a first down with a minute left and give the Huskies a chance for beating the Doggers.

“You can’t tell me these guys aren’t tough,” said Craig. “Even with all the bumps and bruises, they’re still out there giving 100 percent.

“There hasn’t been any lack of effort on our players’ part.”

GRID NOTES: One week after sneaking past the Huskies with a last-second “Hail to the Chief” pass, Hominy won at Barnsdall, 28-14, last Friday. It was District A-7 opener for the host Panthers and the Bucks.

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