Huskies clip Eagles’ wings, 21-7 in Pioneer Woman Classic

Robert Smith
Linemen Dylan Doyal (75), at center, and Odin McGuire (66), at right, visit for a moment during the Meet The Huskies event last Thursday. Also pictured is Jamar Goff (79), at left. Robert Smith/Journal-Capital

Don’t tell them it didn’t count, that no one kept stats, that it doesn’t matter.

Matt Hennesy’s 2020 Huskies went out and got a present Friday night for The Pioneer Woman, to help ease her memories of the “cold, dark night” in November 2018 when the Rejoice Christian Eagles eliminated the Pawhuska Huskies from the Class A football playoffs by a score of 41-8.

The Huskies defeated the Eagles 21-7 in a half-game played Friday in front of fans attending The Pioneer Woman Classic. It was the last preseason scrimmage game of the evening, and Pawhuska’s defense fought tooth and nail to hold on until the offense could find its rhythm.

Rejoice scored its first and only touchdown with 9:52 to play in the opening period, taking a 7-0 lead. Then, following a bad-snap fumble by Pawhuska, the Eagles had a chance to add to their margin. The Huskies defense handled the pressure, though, and forced a turnover on downs.

The Huskies then began to make their ground game work, with running back Hagen McGuire tearing off chunks of yardage. Todd Drummond, playing in place of his elder brother Bryce, who was nursing an arm injury, connected with receiver Mason Gilkey for a touchdown with 5:09 to go in the opening period, and A.J. Soliano put up the PAT to even things at 7-7, which is how the period ended.

Before the end of the half, the Huskies’ defense forced another turnover on downs by Rejoice.

Early in the second period, Rejoice intercepted Todd Drummond, but the Eagles were unable to move the ball and returned it to Pawhuska with 9:35 left. The Huskies used more runs by McGuire and aerial strikes from Drummond to Gilkey to take the lead with 4:48 on the clock. Drummond lofted a high pass across the field, from right to left, and Gilkey went up and got it. Soliano added the PAT and made the score 14-7 in favor of the home team.

With 4:03 to go, Pawhuska’s Dalton Hurd snagged an interception deep in Rejoice territory to prevent the Eagles from mounting a comeback. The key late-game defensive play by Hurd was reminiscent of a game-sealing interception on his part at the end of the 2018 home game against Hominy. Hurd then took a pitch and ran around the right end for a touchdown with 2:21 to go. Soliano made the kick and the Huskies led 21-7.

The Huskies will not see Rejoice again this season. The Eagles, who made it to the fourth round of the Class A playoffs a year ago, have moved up to 2A. Pawhuska is slated to open the regular season Friday night on the road, versus Perry.

The Pioneer Woman Classic featured Pawhuska, Rejoice, Holland Hall and Sperry high schools. Holland Hall defeated Sperry by a score of 35-7 in the other half-game of the evening.