Huskies to get new opportunity in District 2A-8 football opener

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
Huskies to get new opportunity in District 2A-8 football opener

If Pawhuska High School football fans had been allowed to choose the next opponent of the Huskies, there’s a pretty good chance their top pick would be the team that’s scheduled to be at Ormand Beach Stadium for Friday’s District 2A-8 opener.

Over the past dozen seasons, the Caney Valley Trojans are No. 1 on PHS’s list of slump-busters. The Huskies have emerged victorious in 10 of its 11 meetings with the Trojans, with the lone loss coming three years ago when Caney Valley sneaked away from the Beach with a 22-14 win.

The matchup appears to be coming at a perfect time for the Pawhuska team. In the wake of last week’s disheartening loss at Hominy, the Huskies — whose record fell to 0-3 — could definitely use a boost in confidence.

“Our kids are just needing to go out there and have some success,” head coach Joe Sindelar said following the 40-0 trampling at Bucks Memorial Stadium. “Then, I think everything will be all right.”

After drawing breaths of energy from its offense in previous setbacks against Verdigris and Dewey, PHS was left dead in the water at Hominy. The Huskies were manhandled up front and struggled to gain their five first downs while the Bucks rolled two a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and added three in the second. A sixth Buck score just a minute and nine seconds into the third period brought a merciful ending to the bloodletting as the hosts sent out their reserve squad, with which the Pawhuska jayvees sparred scorelessly for the remainder of the contest.

Caney Valley was likewise tagged with a third consecutive defeat last week — and the Trojans didn’t even have to take the field to get it. Following home losses to Barnsdall, 33-12, and Kellyville, 20-15, CVHS officials reportedly believed last week’s road game at Drumright had been cancelled due to lightning. But, when the Trojans failed to show up for the contest, the Tornadoes claimed a victory by default. The OSSAA website is posting a 15-0 result that’s consistent with the state’s rules for forfeitures.

The Huskies’ entered their last matchup with an overall even record for the past dozen years — 64 wins and 64 losses. In that same time period, PHS team’s stand at 28-29 on the home field. Historically-speaking, this Friday night should provide and excellent opportunity for Pawhuska to even it’s 12-year mark and launch that “new” season that coaches talk about when referring to their all-important district slates.

In last week’s game at Hominy, it didn’t take long for the Bucks to turn “The Battle of the Osage” into a Friday night massacre.

In the latest renewal of Osage County’s oldest football rivalry, the Huskies were overwhelmed by their neighbors to the south. The host Bucks scored on their first two possessions and added three more touchdowns in a five-minute outburst during the second quarter en route to a 40-0 victory over the Class 2A Huskies (0-3).

“This is what happens when you’re a young team going against a bigger, more experienced bunch of guys,” Huskies’ head coach Joe Sindelar said afterward.

The Bucks — which returned eight starters from a squad that reached last year’s Class A quarterfinals — sliced and diced the visitors on both sides of the ball. Pawhuska managed just five first downs and 50 total passing/rushing yards while the home team moved the chains 18 times with 348 yards of combined offense.

Spearheaded by 230-pound senior Austin Holloway and junior Braden Sleeper (6-3, 265), Hominy’s smothering defense forced Pawhuska punts after three plays of the first six Huskie series. On their first 18 plays, the visitors had three losses of 10 yards or more, five runs for no gain or negative yardage and seven incomplete passes.

The Bucks’ offense featured a junior trio of Tanner McElyea, Colton Wilson and Zavin Collins. Wilson, a slotback, ran 30 yards on the Hominy’s third play from scrimmage for the game’s first TD — with junior kicker Sergio Mendez adding the extra point. Eight minutes before halftime, Wilson returned a punt 77 yards for a score that gave the hosts a 27-0 edge.

Running back McElyea gained 200 yards on 14 carries and scored four touchdowns. After short plunges for his first two scores, McElyea zig-zagged 32 yards for his third TD. He capped the scoring with a 51-yard scamper less than two minutes into the second half.

Collins — Hominy’s 6-3, 200-pound quarterback — rushed and passed for 55 total yards despite having several throws dropped. Midway through the second quarter, after having a 92-yard TD off an interception return negated by a hold, Collins directed the Bucks 68 yards for their third score of the period and a 33-0 advantage.

Each team committed one turnover and both were via interceptions. Matthew Taft picked one off for PHS to snuff the Bucks’ fourth series. The senior also totalled nearly 70 yards on three kickoff returns.

The Huskies made their initial first downs five minutes before halftime when QB Colton Hindman completed three consecutive passes. He connected with Nathan Richardson for 10 yards, the Caleb Bruce on a seven-yarder and Brian Jeffers for six more yards before Collins snagged his interception at the Hominy eight-yard line.

Pawhuska did gain something positive from Friday’s defeat, however. Due to the lopsided score, Hominy began using second- and third-team players in the final minutes of the third quarter. This allowed Huskie coaches to put in their jayvee unit and give more than a dozen younger players varsity experience in PHS’s Osage County rivalry.

Following a third straight setback, Sindelar reiterated his confidence in the local squad.

“They played hard from the beginning to the end,” Sindelar said of the Huskies. “I wish we could have done better, but that’s where we are right now.”

Pawhuska’s coach said he is looking forward to next week’s District 2A-8 opener. The Friday contest against the Caney Valley Trojans will be a Pawhuska’s Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium.

HOMINY 40, PAWHUSKA 0

P’hska Huskies: 0 - 0 - 0 - 0 — 0

Hominy Bucks: 14-19-7-0 — 40

First quarter

H — Colt Wilson 30-yd run (Sergio Mendez kick) 8:39

H — Tanner McElyea 1-yd run (Mendez kick) 5:16

Second quarter

H —McElyea 4-yd run (Mendez kick) 10:31

H — Wilson 77-yd punt return (kick failed) 8:26

H — McElyea 32-yd run (kick failed) 5:57

Third quarter

H — McElyea 51-yd run (Mendez kick) 10:51

GAME STATISTICS

First downs: Paw 5, Hom 18

Rushes-yds: P 22-minus 13, H 36-293

Pass comp-att-int: P 8-18-1, H 3-11-1

Passing yds: Paw 63, Hom 55

Return yds: Paw 97, Hom 131

Punts-avg: Paw 10-32, Hom 2-34

Penalties-yds: Paw 4-50, Hom 8-80

RUSHING — Pawhuska: Caleb Bruce 3 carries for 18 yds, Ethan Diehl 4-13, Brian Jeffers 1-12, Warren Graves 10-minus 23, Colton Hindman 4-minus 33. Hominy: Tanner McElyea 14 carries for 200 yds and 4 TDs, Tommy Hayes 9-46, Colt Wilson 2-45-1 TD (2nd TD on punt return), Blake Hipp 6-minus 17, Zavin Collins 5-19.

PASSING — Pawhuska: Colton Hindman 8 completions from 18 attempts for 63 yds with 1 intercepted. Hominy: Zavin Collins 1 completion from 9 attempts for 36 yds with 1 intercepted; Blake Hipp 2 completions from 3 attempts for 19 yds.

RECEIVING — Pawhuska: Nathan Richardson 3 catches for 23 yds, Brian Jeffers 2-19, Warren Graves 2-14, Caleb Bruce 1-7. Hominy: Matthew Mullins 1 catch for 36 yds, Peyton Unap 1-13, Ryan Tilley 1-6.