The Pawhuska Huskies, now 11-1, pulled off a rousing comeback Friday at Stroud, coming from a 26-0 deficit at the half to defeat the Tigers by a score of 34-26.
Their reward is they will be playing Friday at 7 p.m. at Ormond Beach Memorial Stadium in front of an excited home crowd. So make sure you eat well on Thanksgiving, Pawhuska fans, because you’ll need energy to yell on Friday night.
Head Coach Matt Hennesy said the “cool thing” about the comeback was that everybody contributed. The defense stepped up and stopped what was an 11-0 Stroud team from scoring again, on its home field. The 26 points that Stroud scored were its lowest point total since late September.
So many different players made a difference, Hennesy said, that the coaching staff was unable to single out anyone as a player of the week. So, instead, they chose the whole team.
Hennesy pointed to multiple contributors on the offensive side of the ball — the names of Mason Gilkey and Cade McNeil and Dalton Hurd and Evan Frye all immediately came to mind for him, when naming players who made important catches. And Kevin Davis had a big night, with 10 catches for 105 yards.
“Just went back to basics and the kids started playing hard,” Hennesy said, when asked about the key to the comeback. Pawhuska started the second half with a trick play, got deep into Stroud’s end of the field, and scored on the next play.
Hennesy said he thought the Pawnee game — Pawhuska’s only loss of the season, when the Huskies got behind 34-6 and came back but lost 46-40 — had a lot to do with the team’s confidence in its ability to erase a deficit. The Huskies just ran out of time against the Black Bears, he said.
“I think the kids knew they could come back,” Hennesy said. The Huskies are scheduled to be at home Friday, against a big, strong Ringling team that reminds Hennesy of Pawnee. Ringling’s defense is very physical and hasn’t given up a single point since September, Hennesy explained. The Blue Devils won their first two playoff games at home, by scores of 36-0 and 27-0.
Pawhuska quarterback Bryce Drummond was the Huskies’ offensive leader in the Stroud game, connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 351 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 41 yards and two touchdowns and a two-point conversion. Drummond had been just 8 of 16 for 67 yards passing in the first half, so he exploded for nearly 300 yards passing after the half. Dalton Hurd and Mason Gilkey had touchdown catches, while Cade McNeil had 90 yards on four catches and Evan Frye had 50 yards on one catch. Kevin Davis had a rushing touchdown.
Playoff tickets for the Ringling game went on sale Tuesday and Wednesday, in the buildup to Thanksgiving.