The effort was there but the execution was lacking, and McAlester found enough chinks in Shawnee’s armor to inflict a 35-27 District 5A-3 loss on the Wolves Friday night at Jim Thorpe Stadium.
Head coach Billy Brown did not mince words following the game.
“We played hard, but we played stupid,” said Brown, whose Wolfpack is now 1-4 overall and 0-2 against district opposition.
“We could have won it, and should have won it,” he added.
Brown said the Wolves suffered from too many “mental mistakes.”
Bad blocks, busted protection and a wet ball cut into the Wolves’ passing game, Brown said, and starting quarterback John Jacobs — despite not throwing a pick — was held to 84 yards on 9-of-22 through the air.
He was Shawnee’s rushing catalyst, dishing out more than 130 yards in the Wolves’ 198-yard output on the ground.
He scored the game’s opening touchdown on a 4-yard dive with 3:33 remaining in the first quarter.
Senior Theo Berry scored on runs of 21 yards and 10 yards, and he posted a cross-country scoring sprint of 98 yards on a kick return to open the second half and keep Shawnee’s hopes flaring. That goal line-to-goal line dash knotted the score at 21, and Berry’s subsequent 10-yard score in the closing seconds of the third quarter gave the Wolves their second — however final — lead of the contest.
The Buffaloes went on to end the scoring with two fourth-quarter successes.
McAlester (2-3, 2-0), after losing starting QB Dalton Wood early in the season, has been looking to junior Caden Pratt to call the snaps. Pratt was a big boost for the victors Friday as he rang up more than 190 of the Buffs’ 259 rushing yards.
He scored on a first-half trot of 53 yards, and later added a TD on a 57-yarder in the second half. Through the air, Pratt threw for 91 yards as he connected on 14 of his 23 tosses.
He was pilfered twice.
Shawnee will hit the road again next week with a district game at Skiatook.