Homecoming went to the home team as Class 5A’s eighth-ranked Shawnee closed out its non-district slate and handled Ponca City, 35-0, Friday night at Jim Thorpe Stadium.
The stingy Shawnee defense held the Wildcats to minus-5 rushing yards in the first half, and gave quarterback Michael Mongold fits throughout the night with three interceptions — one in the end zone.
Junior Josh Morgan was responsible for two of the picks. The first one, in the second quarter, set up the Wolves’ fourth touchdown of the game. Morgan struck again early in the third and returned his second snag 65 yards, setting up Shawnee’s fifth and final TD of the night.
Ponca City finished the game with 27 rushing yards on 24 attempts, and 230 passing yards on Mongold’s 21-for-32 effort. The Wildcats had a meager 66-yard first-half offensive output.
The hosts logged 398 total yards for the game as quarterback John Jacobs batted .500 (14-for-28) on aerials for 176 yards. He did not suffer an interception. Chris Lester was the receptions leader with 115 yards and three scores on five catches, and Jacobs and Dillon Dutton shared the brunt of the running — Dutton with 15 carries for 103 yards and a TD, and Jacobs with nine carries for 100 yards and a TD.
Jacobs put up Shawnee’s first points just five plays into the game. From third-and-6 at the Wolves’ 35, he eluded one defender in the backfield before finding an open lane and trotting 65 yards down the left sideline.
Shawnee scored on its next possession, capping the six-play, 74-yard drive with Jacobs’ 28-yard TD pass to Lester.
Dutton scored next, from 16 yards out, with 5:19 left in the first half. Exactly two minutes later, Jacobs found Lester for the duo’s second scoring hookup of the day, this one worth 49 yards.
The halftime score was 28-0, and the scoring ended with just under nine minutes left in the third quarter with a Jacobs-to-Lester connection of 21 yards on fourth-and-goal from the Ponca City 21.
That was the second time the Wolves had a successful fourth-down conversion end in a score. The first, on fourth-and-4, was Lester’s 28-yard catch.
The Wildcats hoped for a little of that fortune for themselves, but the Wolfpack defense dug in and held them out of the end zone on a fourth-and-3 attempt from the 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
“We played a lot better,” Shawnee head coach Billy Brown said. “We practiced with a purpose this week — trying to come out of the box fast and furious — and I think it paid off for us.”
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Brown praised the defense.
“Our defense played really well and created some turnovers,” he said. “They bent a little bit, but didn’t break.”
Apart from the three interceptions, Shawnee forced two turnovers on downs. The two teams combined for five fumbles — three by the Wildcats — but none were lost.
Brown is pleased with the Wolves’ efforts, and is glad to have positive momentum entering district play next week.
“We needed a solid game to build on,” he said. “We definitely have a lot left to improve on, but I think we can get it done.”
The Wolves will have the third of a three-game homestand next week with a 7 p.m. kickoff against District 5A-3 foe Tulsa Memorial at Jim Thorpe Stadium.
Note: Homecoming festivities were held prior to Friday’s kickoff with Ponca City, and Maddie Rutherford was crowned Shawnee’s 2013 football homecoming queen. Kade Dixon was her escort.