Huskies open postseason at Colcord

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Huskies open postseason at Colcord

Following their strong effort last week against one of Oklahoma Class 2A’s four undefeated teams, the Pawhuska High School Huskies will go on the road to Colcord this Friday for a state playoff matchup with the nine-win, one-loss Hornets.

Kickoff for the first-round showdown is set for 7:30 p.m. The Huskies and Hornets have had two common opponents this season in the Commerce Tigers and Kansas Comets. PHS won back-to-back October road contests at Kansas (17-0) and Commerce (19-16) while the Hornets claimed a 40-10 September decision over the Tigers and crushed the Comets, 60-0, two weeks ago.

PHS last played at Colcord in the opening round of the 2010 playoffs when the hosts banged out a 26-7 victory during a run to the 2A semifinals round. This year, the Hornets lone loss came against the unbeaten and No. 2-rated Adair Warriors — whose closest game this year was their 21-7 win over Colcord on Oct. 10.

In last Friday’s home defeat at the hands of the No. 4-ranked Nowata Ironment, the Huskies continued their steady improvement for the season.

As the third-place finishers in the District 2A-8 standings, the Huskies will be facing a long road trip for their first-round playoff matchup with the 9-1 Colcord Hornets. This is the sixth straight year PHS has made the playoffs.

Pawhuska claimed a moral victory by tallying 20 points, the most yielded by the Nowata defense this season.

Four touchdowns by Bryce Bell helped the visiting Ironmen complete a perfect (10-0) regular season with a 47-20 victory at Ormand Beach Stadium. The triumph clinched the District 2A-8 championship as a win by Pawhuska would have resulted in a three-way tie for the title between Huskies, Ironmen and the Wyandotte Bears.

Bell caught three TD passes and also scored on defense. The contest was less than two minutes along when he snagged a short pass from Nowata quarterback Wyatt Steigerwald and carried it 53 yards to get scoring started.

The Huskies tied the game at 6-6 when junior defensive end Chanler Collins recovered a Nowata fumble at the Ironmen 30-yard line to start a two-minute drive for a score. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Bruce completed a third-down pass to Hayden Javellas for a 16-yard TD — marking the first time this season Nowata has given up first-quarter points.

With five minutes left in the opening quarter, Bell recovered a loose ball in the end zone to put the Ironmen in front to stay. Early in the second quarter, Steigerwald ran in from three yards out to cap an eight-play, 79-yard scoring drive and push Nowata up, 20-6. As the opposing defense continued to shut down the Huskies, Nowata’s offense launched another TD march five minutes before halftime. On a fourth-down call from the PHS 21, Steigerwald found Bell for another score and then kicked the extra-point to give the visitors a 27-6 lead at the break.

Nowata wasted no time reasserting itself in the second half, surprising the Huskies with an onside kick and going on an eight-play, three-minute drive to the first of the Ironmen’s three third-quarter TDs. Midway through the period, Nowata went 79 yards in two plays —with Steigerwald hitting Bell for a 57-yard TD that put the visitors up, 40-6.

A five-play drive paid off late in the period when the Nowata QB passed for a 29-yard score pass that stopped the clock a second before the stanza ended and made it 47-6.

Midway through the final period, freshman Brian Jeffers ran six yards to give Pawhuska its second score of the night. A three-play drive was ignited by a 37-yard punt return by Javellas, whose incredible three-week streak of returning kicks for touchdowns was ended Friday. Javellas still accounted for the majority of Pawhuska’s 193 return yards as he also ran back kickoffs for 56, 29, 27 and 23 yards.

Walter Graves of the Huskies returned the first kickoff more than 10 yards, with a face-mask penalty added to it which gave Pawhuska opening field position in Nowata territory. The Ironmen’s defense quickly clamped down, however, and forced the first of six punts by John Bighorse.

Bighorse led PHS in rushing with 62 yards and that total was lowered by 11 yards due to his hustling recovery of a fumbled pitch deep in Huskie territory with two minutes to go in first quarter. In addition to his steady punting, Bighorse also gave a strong effort on defense — as did several teammates, including Hayden Henley, Marshall Tolson, Tyler Reece and Javellas.

Jeffers picked up his second touchdown after the Huskies got the ball deep in Nowata territory with the aid of an errant fourth-down snap. Following the five-yard TD dash by Jeffers, Bruce booted an extra point to produce the game’s final point with less than two minutes remaining.

Nowata’s last unbeaten regular season was in 1999. The No. 4-ranked Ironmen will host Salina in the opening round of the playoffs.

Ironmen 47, Huskies 20

Nowata: 13 - 14 - 20 - 0 — 47

Pawhuska: 6 - 0 - 0 - 14 — 20

First quarter

N — Bryce Bell 53-yd pass from Wyatt Steigerwald (kick failed), 10:28

P — Hayden Javellas 16-yd pass from Caleb Bruce (kick failed), 5:51

N — Bell recover opponent fumble in end zone (Wyatt Steigerwald kick), 4:52

Second quarter

N — Wyatt Steigerwald 3-yd run (Steigerwald kick), 10:49

N — Bell 21-yd pass from Steigerwald (Steigerwald kick), 4:37

Third quarter

N — Tarell Collins 10-yd run (kick blocked), 8:59

N — Bell 57-yd pass from Steigerwald (Steigerwald kick), 6:04

N — Scott Pruett 29-yard pass from Steigerwald (Steigerwald kick), :01

Fourth quarter

P — Brian Jeffers 6-yd run (Caleb Bruce kick), 6:14

P — Jeffers 5-yd run (Bruce kick), 1:45

GAME STATISTICS

1st downs: Nowata 19, Pawhuska 11

Rushes-yds: N 33-187, P 35-85

Passing yards: N 240, P 27

Comps-atts-int: N 10-19-0, P 2-10-0

Fumbles lost: N 1, P 1

Punts-avg. yds: N 2-31, P 6-38

Returns yds: N 58, P 193

Penalties-yds: N 6-60, P 6-38

Nowata Ironmen (10-0, 6-0) — RUSHING: Tarell Collins 9 carries for 104 yds and 1 TD, Wyatt Steigerwald 6-42-1 TD, Tylen Liddell 6-3, Michael Richey 4-15, Wyatt Sanders 4-15, Cody Smith 2-minus 22, Billy Davis 1-11, Archie Agnew 1-minus 4. PASSING: Wyatt Steigerwald 10 completions in 19 attempts for 240 yds and 4 TDs. RECEIVING: Bryce Bell 4 catches for 137 yds and 3 TDs, Scott Pruett 2-44-1 TD, Harry Agnew 2-17, Tarell Collins 1-22, Wyatt Sanders 1-20.

Pawhuska Huskies (5-5, 4-2) — RUSHING: John Bighorse 21-62 , Brian Jeffers 8-43-2 TDs ,Caleb Bruce 6-minus 20. PASSING: Caleb Bruce 2 completions in 10 attempts for 27 yds. RECEIVING: Hayden Javellas 1 catch for 16 yds and 1 TD, Warren Graves 1-11.