Shawnee hasn't seen a win like this in a long time.
Against all odds, the underdog Wolves went toe-to-toe with No. 4 Muskogee, came from behind twice in the second half, and upset the previously undefeated Roughers, 32-29 Thursday night at Jim Thorpe Stadium.
Trailing 29-26 in the closing seconds, Jaylon Orange ran to his left, parallel to the goal line, and turned the corner just in time to score a 2-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining and launched the home crowd into jubilation.
The drive that led to the winning score started with 4:36 remaining at the Shawnee 25. Demetress Beavers started it with a 15-yard run. Quarterback Dre' Evans completed three passes to senior Scout Cawvey of 5, 18, and 13 yards. Mixed in were five ball-control runs by Evans that kept the first-down sticks moving.
On fourth-and-1 from the Muskogee 5 with 44 seconds to go, Orange ran for the all-important yard and gave Shawnee a first-and-goal at the 4. The Rougher defenders thought they had stopped him short and celebrated as they ran to the sidelines. Instead, the referee signaled first down, Shawnee rushed to snap the ball and a couple of the Muskogee players didn't make it back in time, resulting in an offsides penalty that put the ball at the 2 and set up Orange's final heroics.
With the improbable win, Shawnee improved to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in 6AII District 2 while Muskogee, which had been tied with Bixby for the district lead, dropped to 6-1 and 3-1. It was also Billy Brown's 200th head coaching win.
While emphasizing the glory should go to God, Evans had a one-word explanation for how it all happened.
“Preparation,” the junior QB said. “We worked hard throughout the week. We've faced adversity all season. We didn't expect it, but you just got to come out here and give it your all.”
The Wolves' determination was evident from the start as they took an early lead. Muskogee got the ball first and managed just one first down while being tackled for losses three times. Their punt attempt from the 32 was blocked by Shawnee's Joe Maytubby. The ball bounced back to the end zone where Tanner Bare recovered it for a 6-0 Wolves lead.
Muskogee took a brief 7-6 lead in the second quarter as Jimmie Coleman ran for the first of his three touchdowns and the Roughers made their extra-point try.
Shawnee started its next possession at its 37. Beavers immediately ran for 29 yards and Evans followed with an 11-yard completion to Cawvey. At the Muskogee 23, Evans executed an extremely effective fake handoff to Beavers that caused the entire defense to pursue the running back. Instead, Evans kept the ball and had a clear 23-yard path to the end zone.
Shawnee led 12-7 at halftime despite running only 18 offensive plays. The Roughers had 48 snaps at the break.
The second half saw Shawnee increase its advantage on the first possession, a 9-play drive that ended with a 1-yard TD run by Evans. The big play was a 33-yard reception by Karran Evans down to the Muskogee 2.
The Roughers rallied for two touchdowns later in the third quarter and were up 21-18 heading into the fourth. Shawnee regained the lead with a 10-play drive that included a 41-yard pass to Cawvey. It was capped by Evans' third rushing touchdown on an 8-yard scamper.
Dre' Evans also completed two-thirds of his passes (18-of-27) for 192 yards. It was just the second win for the young signal-caller along with five defeats.
“This is my first year (as a starter),” Evans explained, “and the more I kept practicing and getting into it, the more relaxed I got.”
Evans' favorite target was Cawvey, who caught 9 passes for 119 yards. Evans also led Shawnee in rushing with 65 yards while Beavers contributed 57.
Coleman paced the Roughers with 249 yards on 30 carries. Quarterback Ty Williams went 11-of-20 passing for 82 yards.
The Wolves will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 25, when they visit Sapulpa.