SHAWNEE – Friday night's home opener for Shawnee was anything but boring. The Wolves were hit with an abundance of penalty calls on their first drive of the second quarter, an ejection for coach Billy Brown and had a big fourth quarter to amp up the excitement.
“I couldn't be more proud of our kids and our coaches for overcoming all of that and still winning,” Brown said.
Looking at second and five from the Duncan 22, Heath Hunter scrambled for ten yards and a first down but a 15-yard personal foul pushed them back and negated the play. The Wolves were pummeled with penalty after penalty to eventually find themselves looking at fourth and 69 from their own 13 and leading to Brown's ejection.
“It is what it is, we punted on third down, they can say what they want, they made us punt the ball on third down,” he said. “They're calling a 5A football game on a Friday night and they make you punt on third down, it's ridiculous.”
Brown was ejected because of two unsportsmanlike conduct calls, one that fell back on him and another for arguing about having to punt when it should have been third down. The official to make the call leading to the ejection was on the other side of the field and unable to see what Brown was telling the two nearby referees, he said.
He and Duncan coach Craig Benson are both expected to file complaints on the referees for endangering the players by not calling penalties on helmet-to-helmet contact. Shawnee receiver Trenton Skinner took a hard hit on the first drive of the game and eventually left the field with a concussion.
“He took a hit unprotected. He's going for a ball, takes a head-to-head shot no flag, our quarterback slides feet first, takes a head-to-head shot no flag,” Brown said. “The whole issue this year was kid's safety, kid's safety, and that's safety for their kids and ours. It's not healthy for that to happen either way. But they let it go, but I'm obviously going to write them up and the Duncan coach is going to write them up.”
Duncan ended their first drive of the game with a kick that missed after bouncing off the bottom of the field goal post and quarterback Coby Kirkland ran in an 80-yard touchdown to take a 6-0 lead with 4:41 left in the first quarter.
Shawnee finally ended their scoreless drought on the second play of the fourth quarter, as LJ McKissick went 69 yards on a pass from Hunter for the Wolves first touchdown since just before halftime of last week's game against Guthrie. Braden Barlean made the PAT to take the lead.
The Wolves defense came alive to keep Duncan in check, including a third and seven sack by Gunner Bender to push Duncan back to fourth and fourteen on their final possession of the game.
Austin Wood had a fumble recovery and an interception and Donovan Neal had two sacks in the game.
Hunter completed 11 of 21 passing attempts for 135 yards and threw two interceptions. Scout Cawvey had 23 yards on four completions and Trejuan Shaw had 28 yards on four completions.
Shaw led the ground game with 73 yards on 15 carries and Brayden McGinnis carried seven times for 44 yards.
Shawnee (2-0) is on the road next week against Booker T. Washington in Tulsa. The Hornets suffered a 30-21 loss to West Monroe, Louisiana Friday to drop to 2-1 on the season.
As a result of the ejection, Brown will have to miss next week's game, but he doesn't expect to see the officiating crew from Friday night again any time soon.
“As long as I'm coaching the game, that group won't referee a game I'm coaching again. And the Duncan coach said the same thing,” he said.