The Shawnee football team will face their biggest challenge of the season tonight as they head to Tulsa to square off with Class 6A Booker T. Washington. The Class 5A Wolves are coming off a close 7-6 win last week at home against Duncan for their second win to start the season.
The game was saved on a 69-yard catch and run from Heath Hunter to LJ McKissick early in the fourth quarter.
Shawnee can not afford to make tonight's road trip near as close of a call. They will need to establish an advantage as early into the game as possible in order to stand against the Hornets.
“We have to play hard and exectute,” coach Billy Brown said.
As a 5A team, the Wolves will already be at a serious disadvantage – Washington has a larger, deeper team and just came off of a game against Louisiana's West Monroe last week where they lost 30-21. The two teams challenged each other last year and Shawnee lost 43-6 the week after Washington lost to Florida's IMG Academy, 49-7.
Shawnee will also be without Brown following an ejection during the second quarter of last week's game. The Wolves were hit with penalty after penalty in a drive that saw one penalty fall back onto him as head coach and he was ejected upon a second one to him while he was arguing that Shawnee should be on third down and not fourth to force them to punt.
Coach Chris Sawyer took the helm for the rest of the game and will be leading the team again tonight.
Adding onto that, the Wolves will also be without receiver Trenton Skinner, who left last week's game with a concussion. In his place will be Cale Reed and Josh Wilder who will be playing more on both sides of the ball tonight.
Receiver Scout Cawvey, who had four touchdown catches in Shawnee's premiere against Guthrie, finished last week with four catches for 23 yards. Running back Trejuan Shaw had four catches for 28 yards and ran for 73 yards on 15 carries, Brayden McGinnis had seven carries for 44 yards.
Everyone will need to be on their best game.
The offensive line will need to keep Washington's defense away from Hunter at all costs and Cawvey and the rest of the receivers will have to pull out all stops to get as open as they can. Shaw needs to take advantage of every hole he can find and inch that the Hornets give him and McGinnis' strength will need to be Herculean to fight off defenders.
Defensively, the Wolves need to continue playing fast and hard as they already have. Donovan Neal recorded three sacks last week and Shaw had two against Guthrie. Garrett Hopkins has gotten one each game. They can't slack in trying to get to the quarterback tonight. The secondary will also need to stick as close to their targets as possible.
One of their biggest problems is going to be stopping Washington's rushing game and keep from giving up long yards.
“We have to not give up the big play,” Brown said.
The Hornets aren't unbeatable, but Shawnee will need to play their best and most disciplined game of the season in order to get the win and stay unbeaten. Anything less than 100 percent won't be enough to take this one.