Barnsdall defeats Copan, 62-14, in home opener

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

BARNSDALL -- The heroics of senior Hunter Auschwitz helped begin the momentum that led to a Barnsdall runaway victory Friday over the visiting Copan Hornets. The final score, after just one half of play, was 62-14 in favor of the homestanding Panthers.

Give Copan credit -- the Hornets began the game with an onside kick, which they recovered on the Barnsdall 46-yard line. The visitors were unable to make 10 yards, however, and turned the ball over after an unsuccessful fourth-down try.

The Panthers started at their 42-yard line, and three plays later Auschwitz had them in the Copan end zone. He carried the ball all three times, chewing up chunks of yardage. Barnsdall converted for two points and led, 8-0, with 9:12 to go in the opening period.

The Hornets fumbled on their next possession, and Barnsdall recovered the ball in the neighborhood of the Copan 25-yard line. Keegan Marin threw an incomplete pass on first down, but handed the ball to Auschwitz on second down. Auschwitz promptly ran it in for six points. The Panthers converted another two-point try and led, 16-0, with 8:34 to go.

 The Hornets' next possession ended when Auschwitz scooped up a bad-snap fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. Yet again, Barnsdall went for two points and made it, increasing the Panthers' lead to 24-0 with 8:20 left in the first quarter.

Copan finally got on the scoreboard with a touchdown run that cut the Barnsdall lead to 24-6 with 6:19 left in the opening quarter.

The first quarter ended with the score 38-6 in favor of Barnsdall, and the Panthers stretched their lead to 54-6 with 6:48 left in the second quarter, when Josh Webber scored on a quarterback keeper and Maverick Wilson went in for the two-point conversion.

The Hornets put up their second touchdown of the night with 5:26 to go in the half, and made a two-point conversion, to slightly cut Barnsdall's lead to 54-14, but the Panthers came right back, and Hunter Auschwitz rumbled in for another touchdown at the 5:03 mark.

As the score mounted in favor of Barnsdall, the Panthers' coaches worked numerous of their 25 players into the on-field action. For example, Keegan Marin handled the quarterbacking duties early on, but Josh Webber took over for him.

The victory improved Barnsdall's season record to 2-0 (the Panthers opened the season on the road with a  44-8 win over Foyil). Copan, a Class C team that dressed 14 players Friday, dropped to 0-3 on the season.

As a Class B team this season, the Barnsdall Panthers have transitioned to 8-player football (as opposed to 11-player football). Barnsdall's next game will be Friday at Summit Christian.