MORRISON — Long touchdown dashes made the visiting Pawhuska Huskies first-half contenders in Friday night’s high school football showdown with the Morrison Wildcats.
The explosive bursts proved no match for the slow-but-steady scoring of the hosts, however, and Class A Morrison rolled to a 30-12 victory over its 2A foe.
Morrison’s wing T attack racked up more than 350 yards in rushing yardage while the visitors managed only 24 yards on the ground and 59 through the air.
Pawhuska took the lead twice in the first half on electrifying 90-yard returns.
Tyler Wilson took the opening kickoff 86 yards to give the Huskies their first edge 15 seconds into the game. The senior sprinted to the center of the field, bounced through a hole at the 20-yard line and continued unhindered. Morrison blocked the kick for the extra point to keep the score at 6-0.
The Wildcats tied the game five minutes and 13 running plays later, with sophomore Ryker Hughes capping a 66-yard march from eight yards out. Tyler Wehrenberg ran the conversion and gave Morrison the edge, at 8-6.
Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies regained the lead on an 89-yard interception return by senior cornerback Levi Youngwolfe, who set sail for the end zone after picking off a Morrison screen pass on third-and-goal play from the Pawhuska 10-yard line.
Youngwolfe’s heroics ended a Wildcat drive that had consumed nearly six minutes, while handing the lead back to the Huskies. The score remained 12-8 as a PHS kick for the point-after fluttered wide.
Morrison managed to reach the red zone again in a matter of seconds during a four-play offensive drive highlighted by the 59-yard breakaway run of Hughes, who was chased down by Wilson at the six-yard line. One snap later, Wehrenberg carried for the score and an extra-points run pushed the hosts in front by four — 16-12.
The Wildcats added two third-period TDs to insure their season-opening victory. They took the second-half kickoff 62 yards in 11 plays to a TD off a fourth-down pass from eight yards out, although the Huskies’ denied a pass for the conversion.
Less than a minute later, an interception ruined PHS’s initial series of the half. Morrison continued to roll up yardage, travelling 26 yards in seven plays to an 8-yard TD run. A two-point conversion run wrapped up the scoring with 1:47 left in the third quarter.
Pawhuska’s offense could never get on track against the Wildcats. Morrison’s defense was successful in containing the Huskies’ scrambling quarterback, Wilson, who was dogged relentlessly by Morrison’s 6-2, 200-pound linebacker Trevor Vernon. Wilson wound up with negative yardage as a rusher and and also threw two interceptions.
A week after limiting Kellyville to just three first downs in their season-opening shutout win, the Huskies allowed the Wildcats to move the sticks 26 times — including 17 times in the first two quarters. PHS picked up just five first downs, with one in each of the first three quarters and two in the fourth).
Pawhuska finished with 24 yards rushing and 59 yards passing, while Morrison generated 356 yards rushing and 32 more through the air. The Wildcats kept the ball on the ground for 65 of their 71 offensive plays and the Huskies executed only 27 plays (16 runs, nine passes and two punts).
Time of possession showed Morrison controlling the ball for more than 34 minutes, compared to a little over 13 minutes that it was held by the Huskies.
Hughes ran 28 times for 201 yards with a touchdown and fullback Tanner Neely had 16 carries for 64 yards, with a TD reception. Quarterback Womack rushed for 62 yards and completed three passes for 32 yards, while scoring once each way.