Comets shoot past Huskies

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital

The Kansas Comets spoiled the Pawhuska High School football homecoming Friday by notching their first win of the season, 14-7, at the expense of the hosts.

After spotting the visitors a two-touchdown lead, Huskies rallied in the second half — but the crowd at Ormand Beach Memorial Stadium saw their efforts fall just a little short. The home team needed less than a minute to move the third-quarter kickoff 65 yards to a score. PHS junior William Merrill outleaped a Comet defender in the end zone to snag an 18-yard TD toss from back-up quarterback Caleb Bruce, who then kicked the extra point to draw the Huskies within seven.

Pawhuska came close to tying the score or taking a lead on its final possession. With 2 1/2 minutes remaining, a drive from their own 40-yard line had given the Huskies a first down at the Comet 10. Brian Jeffers reversed directions on a nifty run that gained seven to the three-yard line. A five-yard loss came next, however, and a goalline interception and 30-yard return by Kansas defender Colton Capps followed. That allowed the Comets to run the final 80 seconds off the clock and chalk up their first victory of the season.

Kansas opened the night by going 70 yards in a dozen plays for a short touchdown run by senior quarterback Jared Hogshooter. An unsuccessful pass off the first snap was followed by 11 straight running plays by four different Comets. But, the bulk of the Kansas running load was carried by stout (5-10, 200-pound ) QB Hogshooter, who also plowed over for a two-point conversion that gave the Comets an 8-0 edge.

The first Kansas pass completion came four minutes into the second quarter after Hogshooter retrieved an errant snap on the bounce and unloaded the ball 20 yards downfield to a receiver. An interception by Huskie J.R. Young thwarted that drive, but the Comets went 51 yards to a second TD on their next possession. PHS’s Warren Graves prevented a possible conversion with a sack of Hogshooter to keep the score at 14-0 with three minutes left before intermission.

PHS sophomore Jeffers broke off a 48-yard run on the first play of the second half, setting up the Bruce-to-Merrill TD. Jeffers accounted for 180 of the 232 offensive yards compiled by the Huskies. He rushed 17 times for 123 yards and caught three passes for an additional 57.

The Pawhuska defense shut out of the visitors in the second half, with John Bighorse, Hayden Henley and Kienan Cheves leading the way up front, and Nathan Richardson and J.R. Young sparking the Huskies in the secondary. Bighorse further aided the cause by punting six times for a 38-yard average (including second-half boots of 51 and 49 yards) with no returns.

Kansas entered the non-district contest following five straight season losses in which the Comets had been outscored by their opponents, 223 to 28.

The Huskies were forced to play without starting quarterback Colton Hindman, who served a one-game suspension due to being ejected from the previous week’s contest. Hindman is expected to be back in the lineup Thursday when PHS hosts Commerce for a key District 2A-8 showdown. (See related story.)

KANSAS 14, PAWHUSKA 7

Kansas Comets: 8 - 6 - 0 - 0 — 14

Pawhuska Huskies: 0 - 0 - 7 - 0 — 7

First quarter

KAN — Jared Hogshooter 1 yd run (Hogshooter run), 7:40

Second quarter

KAN — Hogshooter 4-yd run (conversion failed), 3:21

Third quarter

PAW — William Merrell 18-yd pass from Caleb Bruce (Bruce kick), 11:01

GAME STATISTICS

First downs: Kansas 20, Pawhuska 7

Rushes-yards: Kan 54-224, Paw 31-132

Passing yards: Kan 75, Paw 100

Pass comp-att-int: Kan 5-20-1, Paw 6-17-2

Return yds: Kan 78, Paw 5

Punts-avg: Kan 5-28, Paw 6-38

Fumbles lost: Kan 0, Paw 1

Penalties-yds: Kan 5-50, Paw 8-75

Time of possession: Kan 27:01, Paw 20:59

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING

Pawhuska — Brian Jeffers 17 carries for 123 yards, Warren Graves 10-7, Caleb Bruce 3-1, William Merrell 1-1. Kansas — Jared Hogshooter 23-86-2 TDs, Hunter Sapp 12-51, Ty Whorten 7-35, Aaron Reeder 10-30, Brenden Robbins 2-22.

PASSING

Pawhuska — Caleb Bruce 3 completions out of 9 attempts for 62 yds with 1 TD and 1 intercepted, Nathan Richardson 3-8-38-0-1. Kansas — Jared Hogshooter 5 completions, 20 attempts, 75 yards, 1 intercepted.

RECEIVING

Pawhuska — Brian Jeffers 3 catches for 57 yds, Caleb Bruce 2-25, William Merrell 1-18-1 TD. Kansas — Reeder 2 catches for 33 yds, Nichols 2-30, Whorten 1-12.