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Wolves fall into a 21-0 hole, drop a 31-12 decision to Comets

Brian Johnson
Shawnee's Demetress Beavers (20) takes the handoff from Karsen Conaway (4) as teammate Lane Williams (67) prepares to block on the play Friday night at Jim Thorpe Stadium.

The Tulsa Bishop Kelley Comets put the Shawnee Wolves into a 21-0 first-half hole and cruised to a 31-12 victory Friday night in the regular-season finale at Jim Thorpe Stadium.

Shawnee, which wrapped up the regular season at 4-5 overall and 4-3 in District 5A-3, appeared to be on the verge of being on the short end of a severe beating, but came out the second half, scored off the third play of the third quarter on a 70-yard pass play from Karsen Conaway to Demetress Beavers, who caught the strike down the middle and outraced the Comet defense to the end zone.

The Wolves eventually pulled within 24-12 with 4:48 to go on a 13-yard run by Jaylon Orange. The score was set up on the previous play when Beavers made an exciting diving catch for a 30-yard gain to the Kelley 13-yard line.

Shawnee stopped the Comets on their next possession. But a bobbled punt return enabled Bishop Kelley, 8-1 overall and 5-1 in the district, to put the game away with a touchdown with 59 seconds to go as tailback Owen Heinecke took a direct snap from center and scored from 10 yards out with 59 seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, the Wolves did play inspired the second half with their two scores against the second-place team in the district.

“We had a strong talk at halftime, an encouraging talk,” said Shawnee head coach Jason Sexton. “I was proud of our heart, fight and resiliency in the second half. It would have been easy to roll over, but we didn't. We fought our way back to have a chance at the end.”

Beavers was the big playmaker on the night for Shawnee as he caught the two passes for 83 yards and the TD and ran for 42 yards on eight carries. Orange was the top rusher for the Wolves with 13 carries for 72 yards and the one score.

“(Beavers) was a bright spot offensively and defensively,” Sexton said. “He showed the exact technique that we would like. He put on a clinic out there.”

Conaway was 7-of-14 passing for 158 yards and the one touchdown connection with Beavers.

Heinecke topped the Comet rushing effort with 91 yards on 15 attempts and the one TD.

Bishop Kelley's first two scoring plays came through the air as senior Gabe Harju hooked up with Grayson Hall for a 39-yard score on the first series of the game with 8:36 left in the first and Harju later connected with Jeremiah Besses on a 73-yard TD pass which led to a 14-0 Comet advantage with 10:34 remaining before halftime.

It was 21-0 at the break, before the Wolves served notice after winning the coin flip and opting to defer and take the ball to start the second half.

On just the third play, Conaway collaborated with Beavers on the 70-yard pass play. The extra-point kick was blocked as the score stayed at 21-6 with just one minute and two seconds gone into the third quarter.

Bishop Kelley responded with a 60-yard drive, capped by Mason Butler's 20-yard field goal. Butler was also perfect on all four of his extra-point kicks on the night.

A lost fumble and back-to-back punts on their next two possessions kept the Wolves off the scoreboard.

But a short punt return by Orange and a 15-yard penalty keyed Shawnee's other scoring drive. That's when Conaway passed to the diving Beavers for the 30-yard gain and Orange covered the remaining distance with his touchdown run with 4:48 left. Shawnee opted to go for the 2-point conversion. Conaway passed to Joe Maytubby, who was stopped just a couple of feet short of the goal line.

Maytubby led a defensive charge which helped keep the Comets in check. Shawnee's defense limited Bishop Kelley to no yards or less on nine plays in the contest. The Wolves' Ray McGirt had an interception in the end zone to thwart a dangerous Comet scoring opportunity early in the fourth quarter.

The Comets did produce 369 yards of offense with 218 coming through the air. The Wolves had 299 yards of offense with the 158 coming through the air.