WEEKEND AREA GRID: Bartlesville, WCS advance in playoffs
Following is a roundup of area football playoff games Friday.
Bartlesville High football faithful waited strenuously through 60 games, seven years and five head coaches for what happened on a frozen plain Friday in Lawton — a Bruin playoff win.
Thundering back from a 16-0 deficit, the Bruins sent the Lawton High out of the playoffs, 36-30, in a dramatic overtime thriller.
Lawton missed a 37-yard field goal with less than a minute to go in regulation and the game ended in 30-30 tie.
Bartlesville controlled the ball first in overtime and scored a first-place touchdown on P.J. Wallace’s burst. But, the extra point failed, which left the door open for the Wolverines to win it on a touchdown and PAT in the bottom frame of the first overtime period.
However, the Bruin defense held the Wolverines out of the end zone — on a fourth-down incompletion — to nail down the win.
Bartlesville players then waged a celebration to earn the Bruins’ first playoff opening round win since 2015, when the Bruins thumped Midwest City, 35-14, at home.
Next up, Bartlesville eyes a Class 6A-II quarterfinal battle next Saturday at Stillwater.
This seemed to be a back-and-forth slugfest that neither team possessed a knockout punch.
The score was tied at halftime, 16-16. The score was tied after three quarters, 30-30.
There were four punts — two by each squad — in the first 5:15 of the fourth quarter.
With 2:37 left in the fourth quarter, new Bruin kicker Braxton Decker — who had been recruited by other football players — came up short on a 43-yard field goal try.
Lawton then drove the ball 80 yards in about 2:10 to set up a three-point try. But, it failed to split the uprights. The game went into the extra period, in which Bartlesville prevailed to leapfrog into the quarterfinals.
It was a bi-district upset on the mild side — Lawton was seeded No. 4 out of its district, taking on No. 5-seeded Bruins. But, Lawton enjoyed homefield advantage on a teeth-chattering, blue-nosed, brutally icy evening.
Bartlesville’s ground-grinding attack — spearheaded by Wallace and Zink — might have been the main difference, although the Bruin defense blunted Lawton’s attack with a brass wall toughness.
Lawton, on the other hand, had no answer as to how to shut down Bartlesville’s rushing attack.
Unofficially, Wallace racked up 250 yards of total offense — 207 rushing on 35 carries, and 43 on two receptions.
He recored three of Bartlesville’s five touchdowns — on runs of 11, three and 10 yards, the latter being the game-winner in overtime.
Zink added more than 80 yards, unofficially and the other two touchdowns — one on a four-yard run that led to the 16-16 tie at halftime, and the other on a 24-yard reception in the third quarter.
Decker registered two extra point kicks and the Bruins scored two two-point conversions on passes from Kaden Brown to Nate Neal.
Neal completed 15-of-22 passes for more than 170 yards, unofficially.
Tyron Amacker proved to be Lawton’s most dangerous offensive weapon and Devarius Hardy provided very sharp quarterback play at times.
After having endured the four-hour bus ride to Lawton, the Bruins suffered immediate disaster when Amacker returned the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown just 13 seconds into the contest.
After the Bruins missed a 31-yard field goal on their first possession, Lawton drove with brutal efficiency down the field, including a 10-yard run into the red zone by Hardy on a 4th-and-3 play.
But, the Bruin defense stiffened — thanks to a pass defensed by Eli Lino — and Lawton had to settle for 30-yard field goal to go ahead, 8-0, late in the first quarter.
Lawton then recovered the kickoff to earn an extra possession. But, Cameron Hightower, Ashton Lydon, J.D. Atterberry and Casey Young made big plays for the Bruin defense and forced Lawton to go backward and have to punt the ball away.
Bartlesville started its next drive in the red zone — but turned the ball over on downs as the second quarter started.
Needless to ay, it just appear to be Bartlesville’s night — and things turned worse.
Lawton pieced together an five-and-a-half minute, 77-yard touchdown drive — capped on a scoring pass from Hardy to Amacker — to lead to 16-0 lead with 6:41 left in the first half.
Bartlesville’s offense then changed the tide. Neal engineered a 65-yard touchdown drive, including a 3rd-and-10 conversion on a pass to Damien Niko. Wallace zapped into the end zone from 11 yards out to finish off the drive. A two-point pass play — on Brown to Neal, cut Lawton’s lead in half, 16-8.
Bartlesville’s comeback sputtered, however, when the Bruins drove down to the cusp of the red zone — only to toss an interception. Prior to that possession, Bartlesville’s defense had recovered a Lawton fumble.
Lawton got the ball back on the pick with 1:00 left in the first half and clinging to a 16-8 lead.
The Wolverines decided to go for more points — which proved to be a turning point for the Bruins when they forced a fumble (recovered by Avery Hitchins) with 46 seconds left until intermission. The Bruins needed just two running plays to score. Zink carried the final four yards to paydirt. Another Bruin two-pointer died the game, 30-30 with less than 40 seconds left in the second quarter.
The Bruins intercepted the ball back (Hightower) with14 ticks showing and came close to scoring, ending the half on a pass to Darnell and lateral to Wallace.
Bartlesville started the third quarter with a scoring march to go ahead, 23-16; Lawton tied it later in the period, 23-23, after Amacker scored.
Bartlesville answered on a 76-yard drive, including a 24-yard passing connection from Neal to Zink. The extra point put the Bruins ahead, 30-23.
On the ensuing kickoff, Lawton made a huge return to the Bruin 42-yard line, setting up another scoring possession that knotted the score, 30-30, in the final minute of the third quarter.
Neither team found the end zone in the fourth period as both defenses locked down and a field goal attempt by each team missed the mark.
Bartlesville then got it done in overtime.
Interestingly — in a Twilight Zone-type-of-way — this was almost the exact score of an overtime score by Bartlesville in the extra season, but with Sand Springs winning, 35-29.
Notes: Friday’’s outcome was Bartlesville’s first overtime win since 1992 (40-33 vs. Sand Springs, 3 ot) and vs. overtime win in the playoffs since 1998 (31-29 vs. Muskogee, ot). Bartlesville has lost five-straight overtime decisions prior to Friday. … Harry Wright is finished up his first year as Bartlesville head coach. The previous four head coaches back to when Bartlesville won a playoff game in 2015 have been John McKee, Kyle Ppool, Lee Blankenship and Jason Sport.
Despite some adversity in two different quarters, the WCS Mustangs (10-1) joined Bartlesville as the only two area teams to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
“They were obviously a little better than we thought,” Cloud said about his opponent, noting its hard to evaluate teams from the opposite side of the state.
WCS surged to a 33-6 lead by halftime, repelled a Graham-Dustin third-quarter rally and nailed down a playoff opening round victory for the second-straight year.
Next up, the Mustangs will play host next Friday to Mt. View-Gotebo, which eliminated them last season.
Tyrel Cloud threw for 233 yards and Mason Jensen amassed 115 receiving yards to help lead Friday’s attack.
Even though he didn’t put up huge a huge number, Archer Swisher make invaluable contributions — a one-yard touchdown run to open the scoring and a 14-yard touchdown burst in the second quarter to increase the Mustangs lead to 21-6.Cloud ran for a 14-yard score and threw touchdown strikes to Caron Tennison, Kael Siemers (two) and Mason Jensen.
Siemers recorded 133 total yards.
Tennison picked off two passes to plague the Graham-Dustin passing attack.
Midway through the third quarter, Graham-Dustin clawed to within 13 points, 33-20. But, WCS finished up like a hurricane, blasting past their opponent, 18-8, in the final quarter-plus.
Once again, Barnsdall displayed plenty of offense — but Weleetka past the Panther defense in the Class B eight-man playoff opener.
Veteran Barnsdall head coach Kylee Sweeney recalled how the players endured the blistering heat in and sweat of August and had to fight through the brutal cold in November.
The game started out promising for Barnsdall — Weleetka scored on its first possession, but the Panthers answered.
“We thought it would be a back-and-forth deal,” Sweeney said.
But, Weleetka scored on its next two possessions and began to gain separation. By halftime, Barnsdall was still within a two possessions of the home team.
“But, in the second half we had three big turnovers (an interception an two fumbles) and at least two turnovers on downs,” Sweeney said.
Sweeney’s snarling jaguar duo of Maverick Lanphear and Easton Malone sliced through the Weleetka for more than 500 yards.
Lanphear passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-20 passing and rumbled for 145 yards and two scored on 30 carriers.
Malone hammered out 102 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. One of his touchdowns went for 40 yards.
Other major Barnsdall contributors included Braden Byers with seven catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, and James Johnson with 87 yards on two receptions, including a 73-yard aerial touchdowns.
Barnsdall finished up at 7-4.
The future looks bright — Sweeney plans to have six starters back on both offense and defense.
Even though Barnsdall has qualified five times in seven years for the postseason, the expectations for the next few seasons will be to make deep runs in the postseason, Sweeney said.
Obviously, this was not way head coach Criss Davis envisioned his Caney Valley Pups ending the season.
But, in looking at the broader picture, Davis praised the overall achievements this past campaign by his Pups.
“We finished 8-3, we went undefeated in district,” Davis noted. “We were the bi-district champs, the regional champs and the sectional runner-ups. We brought home a lot of hardware. It was a great run. This was a great group of kids. They did everything I could ask for.”
The Pups tied the deepest playoff run (state quarterfinals) in team history.
“I can’t express enough my thanks to the seniors for the outstanding play the leadership they brought to the year,” he sad.
The 10 12th grade players included Astin King, Dylan Thompson, Tyler Cunningham, Gavin Stimpson, Seth Hedges, Mitchell Duncan, Wyatt West, Drake Stapleton, Colton Gillman and Jaden Doane; Austin Carinder served as the team manager.
King finished with 1,168 yards rushing this season, Stimpson caught 11 passes for 172 yards, Cunningham snared four receptions for 87 yards.
Sabetha — ranked No. 5 in the state — pulled away in the second quarter (20 points).
Caney Valley rushed for a decent amount (45-177), and gained more first downs (9-to-7), but gave away four turners (3 fumbles, 1 interception).
Things started well for the Pups — they drove the ball to the eight-yard line. But, a penalty moved the ball back and the drive short-circuited.
Soon after, Sabetha began piling up the touchdowns.
Sabetha cashed in on all three Caney Valley turnovers in the second quarter and led by intermission, 26-0.
King and Jackson Griffin ran for 77 and 75 yards, respectfully.
But, the Pups failed to complete a pass, another factor in their offensive woes.
Griffin finished as the team’s leading rusher (1,300 yards) and leading tackler (54) for the season.
Following three deep postseason journeys the past three seasons, the Huskies found its first year in the Class 2A playoffs a grueling experience.
Victory Christian pulled away to end Pawhuska’s season at 6-5 — the first time since 2018 Pawhuska didn’t advanced to at least the quarterfinals at state.
Pawhuska bids good-bye to some key players, including quarterback Todd Drummond, but also returns a wealth of talent to build on this past season’s lessons.
Matt Hennesy’s impressive coaching record at Pawhuska is 46-15 in five seasons.