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Wolves set to close out regular season tonight at home against Tulsa Bishop Kelley

Brian Johnson
Shawnee tailback Jaylon Orange (2) attempts to cut up field with the ball against McAlester last Friday night.

The challenge won't get easier for the Shawnee Wolves as they close out the 2020 regular season against the Tulsa Bishop Kelley Comets tonight at home in District 5A-3 action.

The kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Jim Thorpe Stadium. It will be Hall of Fame Night as four new members – Gary Higgins, Tanner Whitson, Chris Reynolds and Tucker Brown – will be inducted at halftime.

Tulsa Kelley is coming off its first loss of the season last week, 42-27, to Coweta as the Tigers clinched the district championship.

“Those are two really good football teams. Coweta was able to execute a little better,” said Shawnee head coach Jason Sexton. “Coweta got a big chunk on long plays and their quarterback (Gage Hamm) and his play were a deciding factor.”

The Comets, now 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the district, received two long touchdown passes of 68 and 51 yards from quarterback Gabe Harju to Grayson Hall in the loss.

“He (Harju) throws the deep ball well and, at one time, he threw it 63 yards in the air,” Sexton said. “Their receiver (Hall) can get behind the defense. That, with the quarterback having a strong arm, can make things difficult. We've got to everything we can to stay behind (Hall).”

Harju threw for 226 yards and the two scores.

Tailback Owen Heinecke ran for 156 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns off a 70-yard run and a 1-yard plunge.

“He's a tough, tough runner. He runs extremely well and can run downhill violently as a safety on defense,” said Sexton.

Shawnee, 4-4 and 4-2, was on the short end of a 52-18 district score at McAlester last Friday. It was the second time in which the Wolves lost to the Buffaloes this season.

McAlester scored on 5-of-6 first-half possessions and rolled up 387 yards of total offense. Shawnee totaled 234 yards.

Jaylon Orange scored touchdowns off runs of 3 and 2 yards and quarterback Karsen Conaway had the other off a 7-yard keeper for the Wolves, who dropped their second straight game.

The key for Shawnee tonight comes down to simple execution, according to Sexton.

“We've got to get off blocks better and we've got to get over reaching and pulling. Some of our guys are getting better at it and some are struggling,” Sexton said. “We played as bad as possible with the turnovers and the bad snaps leading to them having a short field. They (the Buffs) made the plays and we did not.”

Following tonight's action, Shawnee will be at home for the opening round of the playoffs next week.