With Guthrie threatening a comeback in the closing minutes, Shawnee put the ball in the steady hands of a senior. He took care of business and helped the Wolves secure a 33-23 win Friday in the team's home opener.
Senior Cyn'Cere Spencer only had three carries for 12 yards, but those rushes were back-to-back-to-back late in the fourth quarter with SHS up 25-23. They came after a costly turnover for the Bluejays — a fumble recovered by Shawnee's Joe Maytubby at the Guthrie 14-yard line.
On third-and-9 from the 13, Shawnee's coaches put Spencer in a shotgun formation as the “Wildcat” quarterback. On his first carry of the game (with 2:08 remaining), Spencer ran for eight yards. On fourth-and-inches, he gained three yards for a first-and-goal that seriously damaged the Bluejays' comeback chances. Spencer finished off the possession on the next play, a one-yard blast that increased Shawnee's advantage to eight points with 1:34 to go.
Spencer also ran in the two-point conversion for good measure.
Shawnee (1-1) was coming off a 49-21 loss at Choctaw to open the season. Guthrie (1-1), which won a playoff game in Class 5A last year, had a close win at home over Enid last week.
The Bluejays whipped Shawnee 42-7 last season in Guthrie.
Unlike in its first game, Shawnee had a fast start, scoring the game's first 13 points. The first touchdown was especially fast, just 15 seconds after the opening kickoff. The Wolves' Jaylon Orange returned that kick 34 yards to the Shawnee 49. On the first play from scrimmage, junior quarterback Dre'Evans found Zane Christopher all alone in the middle of the field for a 51-yard TD.
On its next possession, Shawnee had a seven-play drive that ended with Demetress Beavers running across the goal line from 10 yards out.
Up 13-7 with 3:08 to go before halftime, SHS increased its advantage on a fourth-and-9 play as Orange caught a 23-yard scoring pass from Evans. The Bluejays got a 24-yard field goal on the final play of the half to cut the Wolves' lead to 19-10.
Guthrie started to threaten in the third quarter. On their first possession of the half, the Bluejays went 73 yards in just six plays and tightened the score at 19-17. The big play of the drive was a 41-yard pass play from Kaiden Ballard-Stevenson to Jaylen Allison.
Shawnee went back up by eight with a short Orange touchdown, his second of the night. Guthrie cut into the deficit early in the fourth quarter with a 13-yard TD pass that made the score 25-23. The 2-point conversion pass attempt that would have tied the score fell incomplete.
Shawnee relied heavily on its passing game in the first half, throwing 16 times and completing eight for 192 yards. The Wolves ran nine times for 84 yards in the first two quarters. They flipped the script in the second half, however, rushing 26 times for 124 yards, giving them 208 rushing yards in all. SHS threw just seven passes after halftime.
Beavers, who was held to 28 yards rushing in Game 1, ran for 140 Friday on 17 carries.
Shawnee finished with 410 total yards while the Bluejays had 324 (148 rushing, 176 passing).
Both teams turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a fumble. The late fourth-quarter fumble by Guthrie was by far the most damaging.
Shawnee is idle next week, so the Wolves will have two weeks to get ready for a visit from the reigning Class 5A state champs from Carl Albert on Sept. 20.