KELLYVILLE —Pawhuska High School’s football team had a nice first half against Kellyville Friday night, but big plays in the third quarter carried the Ponies to a 29-6 victory.
Pawhuska (0-1) kept Kellyville (1-0) pinned in its own territory for all but one series in the first half. The Huskies had three red zone opportunities in the first half, but only converted once.
“We played well in the first half,” Pawhuska coach Joe Tillman said.
The Huskies drove from the 50 to the Ponies 8-yard line on their first possession of the game. Pawhuska running back Brian Jeffers had five rushes for 29 yards on the drive. Kellyville stopped Jeffers on fourth and 5 at the 8-yard line to keep the Huskies out of the end zone.
Pawhuska would score on its next possession, which started in the first quarter and carried over into the second. Jeffers pounded his way into the end zone on fourth and goal from the 5-yard line.
PHS recovered a Kellyville fumble on the Ponies 34, and moved the ball within the KHS 10, but couldn’t score. Kellyville got the ball at their 15. They used big plays to take an 8-6 lead with 2 minutes left. Hayden Hutchins scored on a 25-yard run.
The Ponies would score 29 unanswered points to win the game.
“They beat us up,” Tillman said.
Kellyville’s offensive line dominated the PHS defensive line, and their defensive line pressured Pawhuska’s offense.
The Ponies had approximately 45 players suited up for the game, and fielded an offensive and defensive line.
Pawhuska had 22 suited up Friday night.
“Our offensive line is our defensive line,” Tillman said. “Games are won up front in the lines. They were more physical than we were.”
Pawhuska played well at times, forcing two KHS turnovers in the first half. Penalties and fumbles hurt the Huskies in the second half.
Tillman singled out several players on defense — three sophomores and a freshman — for their play.
Hunter Reed had nine tackles to lead the Huskies. Ryan Henley, J.T. Waddle and Brice Drummond also recorded multiple stops.
During preseason practices, Tillman said the Huskies nondistrict games would be a learning experience for a young team. He wants the squad to improve every game and be ready for district play.
Here are four things, Tillman said, the Huskies must accomplish in the nondistrict games.
• Develop a second offensive threat. PHS needs a counterpoint to Brian Jeffers’ rushing.
• Develop a short-passing game to complement the I-formation’s running game.
• Learn a simplified playbook. The offense must know their blocking schemes to effectively run the ball. The defense must know its reads to be able to stop the opponent. “We have to be better prepared mentally to play better.”
• Improve tackling. Pawhuska defenders had 33 missed tackles in the second half against Kellyville.
Pawhuska Junior High checked out equipment to 32 players this week. Tillman said he anticipates six to eight more players will come out for the junior high squad after school starts Wednesday.
“We will have almost 40 kids from those two grades playing this year. The future looks good at Pawhuska,” he said.