Is it Mo as in momentum or Mo as in Mojo? Whichever it is, the Pawhuska High School football team took the Mo from a 24-point fourth quarter Friday night into practice this week.
It showed Saturday when PHS coach Joe Tillman told the team he would cancel the final two conditioning sprints in exchange for a rendition of the Pawhuska fight song.
The team burst out with a loud, rousing version of the fight song. Tillman said it was the grade school teams who were preparing for their games took notice.
“It was cool and special,” Tillman said Monday night. “We have to pull together and stay a tight-knit group as we head into the final five games this season.”
Tonkawa 45, Pawhuska 24
The Huskies found joy in a 45-24 loss to Tonkawa Friday night at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium. It was their fifth-straight loss this season, but the 24-point outburst in the final stanza created the team’s best offensive output. The Huskies had score just two touchdowns in the previous four games.
The fourth quarter also produced the three longest rushing plays of the season. Running back Brian Jeffers broke out for a 42-yard touchdown run with 21 seconds left, and a 32-yard run as the fourth quarter started. Running back Tucker Hunt scored the Huskie’s second TD of the quarter on a 24-yard run.
Jeffers finished the game with 106 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns. He returned to the offensive lineup Friday. He broke his hand Sept. 8 against Dewey and a huge cast kept him from carrying the ball at Hominy on Sept. 15. Jeffers also sustained a high ankle sprain against Hominy and missed most of the second quarter and second half against the Bucks.
“Brian Jeffers ran hard — broken hand and all. The offensive line was fired up. We are just happy to have a little success,” Tillman said after Friday night’s game. “We kept pumping the ball to him, and getting him in a rhythm He’s starting to see the field pretty well, and he’s legitimate fast — track speed.”
Pawhuska turned to Jeffers late in the third quarter and all the fourth when the Huskies switched to a diamond formation in the backfield. Jeffers lined up behind quarterback Tre Harper, and had running backs on his left and right. It gave the Huskies a lead blocker on either the left or right. Those blocks sealed the edge on sweep plays.
Hunt finished with 37 yards on five carries and a touchdown.
Monday, Tillman said Hunt ran the football well against Tonkawa. Hunt needs to continue his strong rushing performance so opposing defense won’t be able to key on Jeffers.
“I liked what I saw from Tucker Hunt on offense,” Tillman said. “His ability to block in the diamond formation was a joy to see. He had three pancake blocks where he put defenders on their backs.”
Tillman said Hunt also played well on defense.
After reviewing the video from Friday’s Tonkawa game, Tillman praised offensive linemen Gabe Letzkus and Tristian McCartney, both sophomores, for their blocking on running plays.
“They continue to get better. I’m really pleased with those two,” he said.
Tillman said the usual cast of characters had solid games on defense.
Hunt performed well in his outside linebacker spot. J.T. Waddle also had a good game on the defensive line. Senior Blue Staff played well in the fourth quarter, coming up with two or three key tackles, Tillman said.
The coach also pointed to sophomore cornerback R.J. McCann for some stellar coverage of Bucs receivers.
Tillman also gave a shout out to the Huskies fans, who stayed until the end of the game, and came to life when the Huskies started moving the ball and scoring in the fourth quarter.
“My hat’s off to all of our wonderful fans,” he said.
The Huskies host Newkirk Friday for homecoming. The homecoming queen will be announced before the game. The coronation ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Newkirk (3-2, 2-1) is a lot like Tonkawa. The Tigers run the ball well, and pass occasionally.
Tiger quarterback Colby Case and running back Laike Wilhelm are strong runners. In five games, Wilhelm has 584 yards on 115 carries. It’s a 5.1 yard per carry average. Offensive linemen Colton Parker and Tre Suppes also stand out, he said.
“It should be a good ballgame,” he said.