Buffs score on 5-of-6 first-half possessions to defeat Wolves

Brian Johnson
Shawnee's Ray McGirt carries the ball and shakes off a McAlester tackle attempt Friday night in McAlester.

McALESTER – The opportunistic McAlester Buffaloes took advantage of four Shawnee turnovers, including three in the first half, scored on 5-of-6 first-half possessions and rolled to a 52-18 over the Wolves Friday night in a District 5A-3 contest at Hook Eales Stadium.

Erik McCarty ran for five touchdowns of 3, 5, 1, 42 and 3 yards in netting 96 yards on 13 carries while Dakota Moton ended up with 92 yards on nine attempts and a 10-yard scoring run as McAlester improved to 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the district, good enough to lock up at least third place in the district standings.

The Buffs generated 387 yards of offense with 246 coming on the ground and 141 through the air. McAlester quarterback Trent Boatright was 10-of-14 passing with the one TD and one interception. He had a 17-yard scoring toss to Jaxon Walters.

Shawnee, which dropped to 4-4 and 4-2, didn't get on the board until the 3:13 mark of the third quarter on a Jaylon Orange 3-yard touchdown run. However, by then, the Buffs had built up a 45-0 advantage.

It was the second time this season in which McAlester beat Shawnee. The Buffs topped the Wolves earlier this season, 34-13, in a non-district game played at Jim Thorpe Stadium in Shawnee on Sept. 12.

Orange finished with 82 yards rushing on 17 tries and scored twice. He later had a 2-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, but went down with an injury later in the period.

The Wolves' only other score came off a 7-yard keeper by quarterback Karsen Conaway with just over one second to go.

Shawnee had 234 yards of total offense with 115 on the ground and 119 through the air.

McAlester took the game's opening kickoff and scored in seven plays off Moton's 10-yard run with 7:57 to go in the first quarter. The key play of the drive was a 61-yard pass from Boatright to Gavin Johnson down to the Wolves' 12-yard line. Justin Perez's point-after kick made it 7-0.

The turnover bug bit Shawnee early as Conaway was sacked on second down and stripped of the ball. The Buffs set up camp at the Wolves' 18 and three plays later, McCarty scored from 3 yards out and Perez tacked on the PAT to make it 14-0 with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter.

McAlester then went on a 12-play, 82-yard series in which Boatright hooked up with Walters on the 17-yard scoring aerial. The big play of the drive came on the final play of the first quarter when Boatright scrambled 17 yards to the Shawnee 19-yard line off a fourth-and-four situation. The scoring pass came at the 11:07 mark of the second period as the Perez extra point made it 21-0.

Another Wolves' fumble set the table for another Buff score. The bobble enabled McAlester to set up shop at the Shawnee 17-yard line. Four plays later, McCarty crossed the goal line on a 5-yard run with 8:06 to go before halftime. The Perez PAT upped the Buffs' advantage to 28-0.

McAlester went on to a 35-0 halftime advantage when McCarty picked up his third touchdown of the night off a 1-yard run. Field position was a critical factor on this series. The Buffs' only unsuccessful drive of the first half died at the Shawnee 1-yard line off a lost fumble. However, the Wolves were unable to get out of the predicament, the ensuing Shawnee punt attempt was blocked and McAlester ended up with the ball at the Wolves' 2-yard line. Two plays later, McCarty scored.

Shawnee, which won the game's opening coin toss, deferred to the second half and anticipated getting the first series of the third quarter, but the Wolves were surprised by a successful onside kick by the Buffs, who ultimately put more points on the board off a 33-yard field goal from Kobe Clark to make it 38-0 with 9:18 left in the third.

A pass interception led to McAlester's next score as the Buffs took over the Shawnee 42-yard line. McCarty then had his longest TD run of the night – 42 yards – and Perez tacked on the PAT to make it 45-0 with 4:07 to go in the third.

The Wolves finally got into the scoring act on their next series as a 55-yard connection from Conaway to Karran Evans to the Buff 26-yard line led to Orange scoring on his 3-yarder with 3:13 remaining in the third. However, the extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 45-6.

Shawnee, after an Evans interception, put together an eight-play, 50-yard drive as Orange scored his second TD, this time from two yards out with 11:47 left in the game. The big plays of the drive were a 29-yard pass from Conaway to Zane Christopher and an 18-yard run by Orange. The 2-point conversion run failed as the score stayed at 45-12.

McAlester wrapped up its scoring with 5:43 left on McCarty's fifth TD of the night, off a 3-yard run as Perez tacked on the extra point.

Late in the game, a pass interception by the Wolves' Boston Tully ultimately led to Conaway's 7-yard scramble with 1.6 seconds to go. Back-to-back passes from Conaway to Demteress Beavers for 7 yards and to Evans for 17 yards, along with a 19-yard keeper by Conaway, set the table for the final scoring play of the game.

Shawnee is scheduled to close out the regular season at home Friday against Tulsa Bishop Kelley at 7 p.m. at Jim Thorpe Stadium.