SHAWNEE – The Shawnee offense could not get their wheels turning Friday in their season opening 29-26 loss to Guthrie at home, turning over the ball five times.
“Offense was terrible. It was horrible. We had [five] turnovers against a good team,” coach Billy Brown said.
Senior Jack Diamond had a difficult first outing in the pocket, going 10-of-30 with three interceptions, two of which were for a pick-six. Diamond barely hit a short pass all night, but did manage 26, 58 and 40-yard touchdown receptions and averaged nearly 24 yards per completion.
Trailing 6-0 after the first quarter of play, Diamond connected with Tyree York for a 26-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. Guthrie marched downfield, settling for a field goal to retake the lead with 9:01 left in the half. On the third play of Shawnee's next possession, Diamond threw his first pick-six to give Guthrie a 15-6 lead on a missed conversion.
In the Wolves' next possession, Diamond had a ball tipped, resulting in another interception for a return to fall behind 22-6 with 5:15 before the half.
A muffed kickoff return to start the second half gave Guthrie the ball, but they didn't get far before Shawnee shut the offense down to retake control.
On his first pass of the half, Diamond connected with Christian Patterson for a 58-yard touchdown pass. Diamond ran in a conversion to get within two of Guthrie and make it a 22-20 game with 9:39 to go.
The reinvigorated Wolves took their first lead of the game on a 40-yard pass to Hunter Mackey with 4:17 to go to move ahead 26-22. It didn't take long for Guthrie to respond, running four plays capped on a 16-yard run with a PAT to retake the lead 29-26.
With only a few minutes left on the game clock, Shawnee had to take advantage of their last possession, but were unable to move the ball.
Diamond threw his third interception of the game to give Guthrie the ball on the Wolves' 34. The Bluejays ran down the clock for the win.
Where Shawnee's offense struggled, their defense excelled – holding the game close on several defensive stands.
After Guthrie took over at first and goal from the eight on a Shawnee fumble, the Wolves defense kept the Bluejays restrained to two short rushes and a 6-yard pass to get to just within the 1-yard-line on fourth down. The defense stuffed the run to give control back to Diamond and the offense, culminating in the 26-yard touchdown pass to York.
Patterson added a touchdown for the defense in the first half to keep the Wolves in the hunt. With 2:57 left in the second, he recovered a Bluejays fumble from the 25 and returned it to make it a 22-12 game that the Wolves would take into the half.
“Defense kept us in it and played hard. Without the defense we'd probably get beat by 50 points. That's the bright side is the defense, which we've been lacking for a couple years. If we keep improving on defense, and we get our offense halfway on track we would have won tonight,” Brown said.
Patterson led in receiving yards, pulling in five catches for 97 yards and Mackey had 51 yards on two catches with a touchdown. York brought in 88 yards on four catches in the first half, but was sidelined after suffering an ankle injury.
“Jack had a rough night, Tyree went down and we were playing different receivers in different spots, but that's no excuse,” Brown said.
On the ground the Wolves couldn't get their run game going. They earned just 60 yards led by Malik Tate with 35 on seven carries followed by Trejuah Shaw with 18 on three and Montrell Shaw with one carry for 12 yards.
The Wolves will travel to Duncan next week as they seek to even out their season and fix a few problems before hosting Tulsa Washington at home in Week 3. Duncan lost to Putnam West Thursday 43-14.