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Bethel to host playoff game for first time

Brian Johnson

For the first time in school history, the Bethel Wildcats will be home for a football playoff game.

Bethel (5-3) will open the Class 2A playoffs tonight at home against Comanche (3-6) for a 7 o'clock kickoff.

It's been a unique season in which nearly all teams were welcomed for the playoffs due to COVID-19. If this had been a normal season, the Wildcats would have qualified anyway due to a fourth-place finish in District 2A-3.

It's the first time in which Bethel has landed a spot in the playoffs since 2008.

“There's definitely lots of excitement around here,” said Bethel head coach Joey Ginn. “I know everybody is in, but by making it as a fourth seed, we would have made it (to the playoffs) in a normal year.”

The Wildcats have been idle after having two teams – Purcell and Holdenville – cancel out on them last week due to COVID-19. Comanche is coming off a 34-20 loss at Lindsay last week to conclude the regular season.

The Indians started the year at 2-0, but dropped six of their last seven games.

“They are very multiple on offense. They've done some transitional things with their offense. They started out (the season) with a lot of spread. They played Marlow and turned it over several times,” Ginn said. “They went two a two-back shotgun and two-back I-formation.

“Their quarterback is very good. He's young and a sophomore, but a good player. They have a kid that has played receiver but is more of a running back now and he can play the corner. Their offensive line is real big.”

Defensively for Comanche a slight change was made.

“Earlier they ran a 4-3 with two high safeties, but then transitioned to a 4-4 with one high safety,” said Ginn. “Their defensive line is smaller (than the offensive line), but they try to get in the gaps and penetrate to the gaps.”

Bethel senior quarterback Jesse Tucker has connected on 58% of his passes (130-of-224) for 1,750 yards and 22 touchdowns with only three intersections. Tucker has also netted 344 yards on 61 attempts (a 5.6 yards-per-carry average) and scored five times.

Junior Corey Metscher is the Wildcats' top rusher with 70 carries for 591 yards (8.4 yard per carry) and seven touchdowns. He has rushed for over 100 yards three times this season. Senior Dez Loving has totaled 358 yards (8.0 yard per carry) and four scores.

Junior John Gordon has 33 catches for 753 yards and nine touchdowns and senior Drae Wood, despite missing two games due to injury this season, has 30 receptions for 416 yards and eight scores.

“Drae Wood looks like the old Drae Wood. He doesn't look just 75-80%. He's been staying healthy,” Ginn said.

Defensively, LW Moore leads the team with 121 tackles (62 solo) with three stops for negative yards. Metscher has recorded 84 tackles (53 unassisted) and 11 for lost yards. Sophomore Bronc Robbins tops the team with 12 tackles for loss among his 48 total (28 solo). Loving also has eight stops for negative yards.

Porter leads the squad with three interceptions while junior Rowdy Story has three caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Harrison Thomas and Robbins will still be missing due to injuries, according to Ginn.

The Bethel-Comanche winner will battle Marlow next week. Marlow has a first-round bye.

Berryhill (2-4) at Seminole (5-3)

Coach Mike Snyder's Seminole Chieftains will open the playoffs tonight at 7:30 at home against the Berryhill Chiefs.

It's been a season of missed games for both teams due to COVID-19. Seminole missed two while Berryhill has played only six times this year.

Berryhill is coming off a 21-13 loss to Vinita two weeks ago after last week's game with Mannford was cancelled. Five times the Chiefs have been cancelled this season, but one was able to replaced as Berryhill beat the Broken Arrow JV, 35-7.

“They're actually better than their record. They didn't get to finish their district and played the best teams at the front of their (district) schedule,” said Snyder. “They finished sixth (in the district), but they were probably the fourth best team. All they would've had to do was win last week and they would have finished fourth. They're definitely not your normal sixth-place team.

“Their quarterback is really good and their running back makes them go. Both started for them the last couple of years and their running back is just a junior,” Snyder said. “They're big and physical up front. With playing just six games, I know they've struggled with consistency.”

Meanwhile, Seminole has seen its share of games cancelled or postponed. Two games were wiped off the schedule and a third was about to before the Chieftains hosted Tulsa Metro Christian in a non-district contest last week, a 45-28 loss for Seminole.

In a losing effort for the Chieftains, Garrett Chaffin rushed for 118 yards on 19 carries and scored off short runs of 2 and 4 yards. Vcake Wassana passed for one TD of 37 yards to Easton Wurtz and ran for a 4-yard score.

Chaffin had a 54-yard run to set up the Wassana to Wurtz touchdown connection. Wurtz ended up with four catches for 78 yards.

“We're getting our running back Jason Batiest back (from injury), but lost a corner Braylen Jefferson to injury,” Snyder said.

The Seminole-Berryhill winner will visit Verdigris next week. Verdigris drew a first-round bye for the playoffs.

Alva (2-8) at Chandler (7-3)

The Chandler Lions, winners of three straight, head into the Class 2A state playoffs with some momentum.

Tonight's kickoff against the 2-8 Goldbugs is at 7 o'clock.

Chandler, 7-3, picked off Meeker (30-0), Kellyville (48-34) and Prague (60-12) since dropping a 36-14 decision to eventual district champion Millwood nearly four weeks ago.

Sophomore Casmen Hill had a big night for the Lions against Prague as he ran for 137 yards on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns.

Hill has now rushed for 1,670 yards on the season off 221 attempts (a 7.6 yards-per-carry average) and scored 17 touchdowns. Eight times this year he has rushed for 100 or more yards.

Quarterback Kaden Jones has completed 53.3% of his passes (64-of-120) for 759 yards and seven touchdowns with three interception. He has also rushed for 458 yards on 66 carries (6.9 yard per carry) and six scores.

Senior Darian Mahan has caught eight passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns this season for Chandler.

On defense, the senior tandem of Traydon Richardson and Spencer Clagg have 2.5 quarterback sacks apiece on the season. Richardson has totaled 63 tackles (21 solo) with nine stops for negative yards and Clagg has 40 tackles, including 13 for minus yards.

The Chandler-Alva winner will play the Meeker-Perry victor next week.

Tecumseh (4-5) at Cache (4-5)

Coach Ty Bullock's Tecumseh Savages open the playoffs for the second straight year at Cache tonight at 7:30.

Tecumseh had a three-week break before dropping a 54-14 home decision to Oklahoma City John Marshall last Friday. COVID-19 played a role in two straight cancelled games prior to last week.

The Savages' only two touchdowns came off a Monte Valois pass to Gavyn Rogers and a Dylan Graham TD run.

For the season, Valois has converted on 61.2% of his passes (79-of-129) for 1,297 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions.

Senior Jake Trice, despite missing two games, leads the team in receptions with 26 for 420 yards and three scores. Rogers has 21 catches for a team-leading 483 yards. Junior Jaxon Meyers has 14 grabs for 153 yards and a TD and Graham has eight catches for 144 yards and one score.

Senior Kane Ainesworth is the team's top rusher with 548 yards on 96 carries for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average to go with nine touchdowns. Graham and junior Chad Wynne have each scored twice off rushes as Graham has 441 yards on 53 carries (8.3 yards per carry) and Wynne has 222 yards on 55 tries.

Defensively, senior Jamal Fair's 131 tackles (21 solo) top the squad as he has also recorded six stops for lost yards. Senior Anthony O'Guinn leads the team in interceptions with four and passes deflected with eight and has collected 60 tackles (17 solo). Senior lineman Ethan Rickey has been in on 60 tackles (eight solo) with six stops for losses.

The Tecumseh-Cache winner will face the Blanchard-Elgin winner next week.

McLoud (5-4) at Plainview (4-6)

Winners of two straight, the McLoud Redskins hit the road for the first round of the Class 3A playoffs tonight at 7 o'clock in Plainview.

McLoud is coming off a 44-28 victory at Oklahoma City Douglass last week as sophomore Clint Campbell scored twice off runs of 3 and 25 yards before leaving in the third quarter with an injury. Senior quarterback Collin Gibson also fired a 55-yard scoring pass to Zak Osborn as Gibson later left the game with an injury.

Both Campbell and Gibson are expected to play tonight, according to McLoud head coach Rusty Hall.

The Redskins also picked up 24 fourth-quarter points off a 40-yard field goal from Ryan Hunter, an interception and 45-yard return by senior Caleb Summerlin for a TD, a 60-yard scoring pass from freshman quarterback Gunner Maust to Wes Olds and a 12-yard scoring run from Hunter Sparlin.

Plainview closed out its regular season with a 41-7 home thumping of Pauls Valley as Jeston Gilliam ran for two touchdowns of 7 and 22 yards and caught a 48-yard scoring pass from quarterback Reis Taylor.

Taylor completed 56% of his passes for 199 yards and the two touchdowns and Morgan Pearson had five receptions for 116 yards and one TD, a 58-yard aerial from Taylor. Caden Pickens also scored twice for the Indians off runs of 3 and 11 yards.

Plainview had 342 yards of offense in the game.

“They've got a quarterback (Taylor) back from last year (a state finals team). He runs well and is a decent thrower. He kind of reminds me of the Kingfisher quarterback (Jax Sternberger),” said Hall. “They're not real big, but average size. Perason is a good receiver at 6-2, 205 as a sophomore. You put the ball around his area and he comes down with it a lot. Their middle linebacker (Pickens) is one of the best linebackers we've played, if not the best.”

The winner of McLoud-Plainview will take on the Heritage Hall-Little Axe survivor next week.

Meeker (4-4) at Perry (5-3)

Coach DJ Howell's Meeker Bulldogs will visit the Perry Maroons for their Class 2A playoff opener at 7 o'clock tonight.

Meeker's scheduled game at Jones to end the regular season last week was cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. In their last outing, the Bulldogs evened their season record at 4-4 with a 37-30 victory over Crossings Christian.

Perry, 5-4, is coming off a 35-28 home win over Community Christian last week.

The Maroons are led by senior quarterback Brody Harbour, who has proven to be a dual threat. He has completed 50.3% of his passes for 1,178 yards and 10 touchdowns with five interceptions. Harbour has also carried the ball 97 times for 539 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and eight scores. He has one 100-yard plus rushing game this season.

Junior Caden Hall has netted 493 yards on 105 carries (4.7 yards-per-carry average) and scored six times and senior Kohl Witter has 283 yards on 73 carries and scored twice.

Junior Dylan Hight and senior Carson Rames have been Harbour's top twio targets. Hight has 27 receptions for 372 yards and two touchdowns while Rames has 24 catches for 312 yards and five scores. Ethan Calhoon also has eight grabs for 182 yards and a pair of scores.

Witter and sophomore Ethan Hughes each have 10 tackles for loss to top the squad. Calhoon has seven stops for losses and senior Walker Cunningham, the teams tackle leader, has six stops for losses and has recovered two fumbles.

Hight and junior Caden Hall have three interceptions each while Rames has two.

For Meeker, senior Caden Wolford has 166 carries for 1,150 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. He has also completed 3-of-7 passes for 134 yards and two scores.

Sophomore Ty Gabbert has connected on 35-of-53 passes for 352 yards and two scores with six picks. Juniors Keavin Grady and Zach Cook have been the Bulldogs' top two receivers as Grady has 23 grabs for 256 yards and one TD while Cook has 13 receptions for 218 yards and two scores.

JJ Bloomer leads the team in tackles (66), tackles for losses (8) and shares the team lead in quarterback sacks with Wolford at six apiece. Wolford also has seven stops for lost yards among his 48 tackles. Cook owns five tackles for loss and three sacks.

Grady and senior Caleb Chapman have each intercepted four passes.

The Meeker-Perry winner will square off with the Chandler-Alva victor next week.

Prague (5-3) at Blackwell (5-4)

Prague's Red Devils launch the playoffs with a visit to Blackwell tonight at 7 o'clock.

Blackwell did not play last Friday after the Maroons shut out Alva, 28-0, two weeks ago while Prague was on the short end of a 60-12 score with Chandler last week.

The Maroons have employed two senior quarterbacks this season as Nat Hindman has completed 46-of-93 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns with six interceptions while Tanner Botts has connected on 11-of-26 aerials for 137 yards and four scores with only one pickoff.

On the ground, Blackwell junior Christian Mora has netted 914 yards on 146 carries (6.3 yards per carry) and scored six times.

In the receiving department, senior Trevor Goodenough has caught 28 passes for 366 yards and seven touchdowns while Botts has 27 grabs for 501 yards and five scores and Hindman has 12 receptions for 146 yards and four more touchdowns.

Botts tops the Maroon tackle chart with 103, including 40 solo-efforts. Mora follows with 88 tackles (36 solo) with two stops for lost yards. Senior Hunter Young has 69 tackles (18 solo) and a tackle for loss and junior Matthew Davis has 67 stops (24 solo) with five tackles for loss.

The Red Devils' two scores came off a 73-yard run and 43-yard scamper from quarterback Trip Davis.

The winner of Prague-Blackwell will face Millwood next week. Millwood drew a first-round bye.

Copan (1-9) at Maud (5-5)

The Maud Tigers open the Class C playoffs at home against Copan tonight at 7 o'clock.

Maud finished third in District C-4 after hammering Wilson-Henryetta 58-8 last week.

Copan was beaten by Deer Creek by a 58-8 count last Friday.

The Maud-Copan winner will square off with the Medford vs. Wilson-Henryetta winner next week.