Huskies defeat Warner, take aim next at Mooreland

Mike Tupa
For the Journal-Capital

Pawhuska High School's football team steamed one step closer Friday to a showdown with destiny.

Energized by the savvy undertaking of senior quarterback Bryce Drummond and a scorched-earth thrust by the defense, the Huskies brushed the Warner Eagles out of the way, 58-0, in their charge through the Class A playoffs.

Pawhuska (11-0) next takes aim Mooreland High (7-5) in the quarterfinals. Kickoff is planned for 7 p.m. next Friday at the Pawhuska field.

Adding to their state record for points scored in a season (753), Pawhuska slowly — but surely — wore down the Eagles (7-5).

Pawhuska made its explosive statement despite playing for the first time in three weeks.

"The rust was in the game-day preparation stuff," third-year Huskies head coach Matt Hennesy said. "We just didn't remember how to get dialed in on game day. But, after the team dinner we had a little heart-to-heart and we got it straight. I told them, 'You've still got two hours to get it right.'"

The players' response pleased Hennesy.

"They came out playing good," he said. "They were excited to play. I told them, let's be the most excited team on the field. They came out and did that."

Drummond set the tone with a workmanlike and powerful performance.

"He played one of his best games as far as being efficient and not having turnovers," Hennesy said. "They tried to take the deep ball away from us and he did a good job of checking down to the backs and spreading it around to the open receivers and throwing screens. He was very effective."

In fact, Hennesy pulled Drummond — who racked up 350 yards passing — sooner than he might have otherwise in order to give sophomore quarterback Todd Drummond some quality work with the first-string offense.

Todd's effort was defined by mixed marks — he threw a touchdown and engineered another one, but also hit on 5-of-14 passes for 78 yards and two interceptions, Hennesy noted.

"Todd throws a beautiful ball," the coach added. "We wanted Todd to get some reps with the ones."

Hagen McGuire turned a masterful performance on both sides of the ball. He recorded more than 100 yards in receiving and also helped the defense rise to an extraordinary height of achievement.

"I thought the defense played lights out," Hennesy said. "They were really dominant. Lesharo Wildcat had a huge night. (Jamar) Goff, (Dylan) Doyal, Wildcat and McGuire played good up front. I thought their hustle to the ball was great."

Hennesy and his staff made a key adjustment by switching from the team's standard three-man defensive front to four up on the line.

Hennesy said the Huskies have been working on a four-man front to better compete in the playoffs.

On Friday it worked especially well, virtually nullifying Warner's mighty rushing game.

"We did a good job stuffing the run," Hennesy said. "We wanted to try to make them pass."

The Huskies also moved Bryce Drummond in as another linebacker.

"We can get big real fast," Hennesy said.

Mooreland should provide a new look for the Huskies' defense.

"They play an offense tough to defend," Hennesy said, liking it to the flexbone used by Navy and Army. "They're not very big, but they do the best they can with their personnel grouping."

He expects his Huskies to present them some game-planning headaches, as well.

"I think they'll have trouble with our size and our speed," Hennesy said.