BARNSDALL — The Barnsdall High School Panthers, now 2-0 for the 2019 campaign, got off to a slow start Friday against a hardheaded Afton squad. The Eagles took the ball on the opening kickoff and held it for most of the quarter, until they turned it over on downs in the shadow of the Panthers’ goal posts.
The score remained 0-0 until Barnsdall senior speedster Michael Marin broke loose on a long run and scored with 1:49 left in the opening period. The Panthers failed to convert, and the score was 6-0 for the home team, which is how things stood at the end of the first quarter.
Afton began a possession at its own 24-yard line with 9:46 to go in the second quarter that led to a touchdown for the Eagles. The visitors scored with 8:08 left in the half, went for two and converted. The score was 8-6 for Afton, but Barnsdall mounted a scoring drive on its next possession that concluded with quarterback Joe Cole throwing a strike to receiver Heath Moles on fourth and goal from the Afton seven-yard line. The Panthers were unsuccessful on their two-point try, but they led 12-8 with 3:14 left in the half.
Afton mounted another drive in that remaining time, but eventually turned the ball over on downs deep in the Barnsdall end, with just four seconds left in the first half. The half ended with Barnsdall ahead, 12-8.
In the second half, Barnsdall shut down Afton’s offense and the Eagles were unable to stop the Panthers. Afton played aggressive defense, but the home team held onto the ball and wore them down. It was a warm, muggy evening when perspiration was dripping from the faces of fans as well as players. The heat and resulting fatigue helped to slow the game down.
Barnsdall took the opening kickoff of the second half and kept the ball nearly half the third quarter, gradually pushing Afton back. Cole made two key fourth-down plays, one to keep the drive going and another to score. He ran the ball in on a quarterback keeper with 6:52 to go in the third stanza, effectively breaking the back of Afton’s resistance.
Cole hooked up with Moles for a touchdown pass with 3:42 to go in the third quarter, the Panthers kicked the point after and the score was 25-8, which is how the third period ended.
Barnsdall is slated to be on the road Friday at Drumright.