Wolves lock up playoff spot, pluck Cardinals, 35-7
Happy but not satisfied.
The Shawnee Wolves secured a Class 5A playoff spot behind a stifling defense and the running of junior tailback Jaylon Orange in smothering Tulsa East Central, 35-7, Thursday night at Jim Thorpe Stadium.
Orange ran for 209 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns off runs and 15 and 38 yards while teammate Karran Evans did damage on both sides of the football, catching a 55-yard scoring pass from Karsen Conaway and intercepting two passes, as the Wolves moved to 4-2 overall and a perfect 4-0 in District 5A-3.
“Jaylon had a great game. Some of the plays, he had blocking and some he didn't, but 200 yards is a special night,” said Shawnee head coach Jason Sexton. “I'm proud of our kids. They're in the playoffs. We're happy but not satisfied. We have three tough opponents coming up.”
When Evans wasn't picking off passes, the rest of the Shawnee defensive unit stuffed the Cardinals as East Central netted just 32 yards on 29 carries.
“Our defense played the run real well tonight,” Sexton said. “They had a good running back (Mike Lee) and a big line. We're starting to play the run really well.”
Sexton chalks it up to team tackling.
“Our technique is getting better each week with our chop, wrap and roll tackling,” said Sexton. “When you do the chop, wrap and roll, you don't get as many facemasks and targeting penalties, because your going down at the knees.”
Tulsa East Central, 3-3 and 1-3, generated most of its offense from the passing game as Cunu Fields threw for 158 yards. However, Fields was only 10-of-28 with the two picks thrown to Evans.
Offensively, Evans had two receptions for 61 yards, including the TD. Conaway was 6-of-11 passing for 114 yards and two scores. He hooked up with Joe Maytubby on a 22-yard scoring aerial and later connected with Evans.
Demetress Beavers, who finished with 89 yards on 13 attempts, also provided a 28-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the tone was set early, as the first offensive play from scrimmage for the Cardinals resulted in a forced fumble and recovery by the Wolves.
Senior Terrance Shaw forced the fumble and Beavers made the recovery at the East Central 31.
After back-to-back runs of 11 yards by Orange and 5 yards from Beavers, Orange covered the remaining distance of 15 yards when he bounced off the middle of the Cardinal defensive line and raced his way into the end zone. Ian Johnson's point-after kick made it 7-0 with 9:58 remaining in the opening quarter.
Shawnee saw its next series go from its 18 to the East Central 16, but died there after coming up two yards short.
But the Wolves' third drive was a success, keyed by a 31-yard run by Orange on first down. Orange followed with a 7-yard scamper and Beavers went two yards before Conaway completed his first pass attempt for a TD as Maytubby snagged the 22-yarder for a score with 2:14 left in the opening period. A errant snap on the extra point led to a missed conversion pass as the score stayed at 13-0.
The Cardinals with the help of two 15-yard penalties, picked up its first and only touchdown of the game with 1:51 to go before halftime. Fields tossed an 18-yard scoring pass to William McGuire and Andrew Chavez tacked on the extra point.
But it didn't take long for Shawnee to respond. In fact, it was 15 seconds.
After a weak kick was downed by the Wolves at the Shawnee 45-yard line, Conaway found Evans for a 55-yard scoring connection. Conaway then scrambled for the 2-point conversion run which led to a 21-7 cushion for the Wolves at the half.
Shawnee maintained that 14-point cushion as no scoring occurred in the third quarter.
But the Wolves upped the lead to 28-7 with 8:29 left in the game with a four-play, 84-yard drive. A 46-yard cross-country run by Orange on second down led to Orange scoring from 38 yards out. Johnson then tacked on the PAT.
Shawnee then iced the game on its next series, going 79 yards in only four plays as Beavers burst up the middle for the 28-yard score with 5:10 remaining and Johnson kicked the extra point.
Maytubby had at least three tackles for lost yards, including one quarterback sack. Logan Cash was in on at least two stops for lost yards. Koby Mitchell, Beavers and Orange were each in on at least one tackle for negative yardage.
“Kobe Mitchell had a great game playing both ways. He was the iron man,” Sexton said.
Hudson Davis-Barkus and Evans broke up back-to-back passes on the Cardinals' final series of the half, before Evans made a pass interception on the last play of the half.
The Wolves are back in action next Friday night with a visit to Coweta for another District 5A-3 clash at 7 p.m.