Pawhuska defeats Chelsea 26-22

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Pawhuska defeats Chelsea 26-22

The Pawhuska Huskies continue their march toward the 2014 high school state football playoffs Friday night with a marquee home matchup against the undefeated Nowata Ironmen, currently the No. 5-ranked team in Oklahoma Class 2A.

In last week’s All-Hallow’s Eve battle at Chelsea, the Huskies held off the hosts, 26-22. The short-handed Pawhuskans showed resiliency and fortitude in wresting a district win from the pesky Green Dragons.

Steady gains by John Bighorse and a couple explosive bursts from Hayden Javellas fueled the Pawhuska offense and four interceptions — two by Mathew Taft and one apiece for Levi Youngwolfe and Javellas — provided the saving grace for its defense. Bighorse ran for 171 yards and scored three touchdowns and made 14 tackled (eight of them unassisted). Javellas got the Huskies off to a fast start by taking the opening kickoff 87 yards to his third kick-return TD in as many games.

“Our defense wasn’t all that good — but it was opportunistic,” said PHS head coach Bob Craig after the Huskies secured a fourth consecutive victory and their fifth in the past six outings.

Although severely hobbled by a calf injury sustained the previous week, Huskie quarterback Caleb Bruce managed to get the ball to the ever-reliable No. 82 (Bighorse), with rushing support from freshman Brian Jeffers (who’s looking more impressive with each and every carry).

“He was in pain just standing on that leg, but we asked him if he could still be a distributor and he did a great job,” Craig said of Bruce’s extraordinary effort. “Give him and the rest of the kids credit for doing everything that needed to be done to get a win we needed.”

Pawhuska improved to 5-4 overall and 4-1 in the district. The Huskies will host Nowata (9-0, 5-0) in a 7:30 p.m. game Friday at PHS’s Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium. A Huskie victory would create three-way tie atop the District 2A-8 standings (between Pawhuska, Nowata and Wyandotte) — but the Ironmen would still hold a decisive edge in district points due to their domination of earlier opponents. (See 2014 results.)

Friday will be “Senior Night,” with pre-game ceremonies beginning at 7 p.m. It also has been designated as “Military Appreciation Night,” with veterans invited to attend the game free of charge. PHS’s strong cast of seniors includes standout linemen Tyler Reece (No. 55), Marshall Tolson (No. 63), Dakota Jester (No. 58) and injured No. 62, Trey Powell. The other seniors, who have also excelled, are the incomparable Hayden Javellas (No. 7) and multi-talented Trey Redeagle (No. 24).

Bighorse was a dynamic force for the Huskies against Chelsea. The 6-foot, 205-pound sophomore ran 33 times for 171 yards and scored three touchdowns. Javellas gave Pawhuska a 6-0 lead just 15 seconds into the contest when he eluded the initial tacklers on the kickoff and then cut up the visitors’ sideline for an 87 yard TD return.

Chelsea’s battle to keep fading playoff hopes alive was led by a pair of juniors — Zach Eidschun and Corey Murphy. The Dragons grabbed an 8-6 advantage seven minutes into the first quarter when Eidschun scored the conversion after scooping up a Huskie fumble and returning it five yards for a TD.

Eight minutes before halftime, Pawhuska regained the lead, 14-8, with a 37-yard TD drive comprised of six consecutive Bighorse carries. Freshman Brian Jeffers ran the two-point bonus. Both teams committed a pair of turnovers in the first half as Taft and Youngwolfe made interceptions for the Huskies, while Eidschun recovered two PHS fumbles.

The Green Dragons tied the score at 14-14 with 2:35 left in the third quarter, going 52 yards in 13 plays. The drive was kept alive by a pass interference call on a fourth-down-and-eight call. (It was the first of just three penalties called in the game.) A missed extra-point kick prevented Chelsea from taking the lead.

Pawhuska proceeded to go back in front on a 59-yard, 10-play march that featured eight more Bighorse runs — including the 2-yard TD with 9 1/2 minutes left in the game. With the eight minutes remaining, Javellas intercepted a Dragon pass at the PHS 7 and brought it back 60 yards, but the subsequent Huskie series ended with a turnover on downs at the Chelsea 30.

Three plays later, Taft picked off his second pass of the evening, which led to another Bighorse TD that put Pawhuska ahead, 26-14, with 1:31 left.

The Dragons pulled within four points on a touchdown pass by Murphy to Gavin Feathers (and two-point conversion pass to Gavin Hunt) with four seconds to play. They failed to get an onside kick, however, which allowed the Huskies to run out the clock. Murphy, who had taken over at quarterback when starter Feathers was injured early in the second half, ran for the one TD and passed for more than 100 yards.

Bruce had been a key component throughout the early season at running back and safety, before moving behind center two weeks ago when starting QB Colton Hindman was sidelined by a broken collarbone.

“Caleb’s done so many things for us this year, it’s hard to believe he’s only a sophomore,” the head coach added.

PAWHUSKA 26, CHELSEA 22

PHS Huskies : 6 - 8 - 0 - 12 — 26

CHS Dragons : 8 - 0 - 6 - 8 — 22

First quarter

P — Hayden Javellas 87-yd kickoff return (kick failed), 11:45

C — Zach Eidschun 6-yd return of fumble recovery (Eidschun run), 5:00

Second quarter

P — John Bighorse 1-yd run (Brian Jeffers run), 8:37

Third quarter

C — Corey Murphy 2-yd run (kick failed), 2:35

Fourth quarter

P — Bighorse 2-yd run (kick failed), 9:50

P — Bighorse 1-yd run (kick blocked), 1:31

C — Gavin Feathers 20-yd pass from Murphy (Murphy pass to Gavin Hunt), :04

GAME STATS

1st downs: Pawhuska 17, Chelsea 15

Rushes-yds: P 48-204, C 35-136

Passing yards: P 0 , C 108

Comps-atts-int: P 0-4-0, C 7-19-4

Fumbles lost: P 2, C 0

Punts-avg: P 4-28, C 3-24

Returns yds: P 188, C 20

Penalties-yds: P 1-14 , C 2-10

Chelsea Green Dragons (2-7, 1-4) — RUSHING: Zach Eidschun 10 carries for 41 yds, Dalton Bunch 7-31, Corey Murphy 6-19, Gavin Feathers 4-19, John Hunter 6-13, Gavin Hunt 1-13, Casey Booth 1-0. PASSING: Corey Murphy 6 competions on 14 attempts for 108 yds with 2 intercepted, Gavin Feathers 1-4-0-1, Zach Eidschun 0-1-0-1. RECEIVING: Dalton Bunch 3 catches for 12 yards, Casey Booth 1-8, Zach Eidschun 1-40, Gavin Hunt 1-28, Gavin Feathers 1-20. Head coach: Gary Kirk.

Pawhuska Huskies (5-4, 4-1) — RUSHING: John Bighorse 33 carries for 171 yards, Brian Jeffers 7-35, Hayden Javellas 3-31, Caleb Bruce 3-minus 14, Mathew Taft 2-minus 19. PASSING: Caleb Bruce 0 completions in 3 attempts, John Bighorse 0-1. RECEIVING: none.