Woodland outlasts Panthers on Friday night

Mike Tupa

Misfortune, serious adversity and a backward-pointing barrel proved to be Barnsdall High School’s most loyal companions during a season long on challenges and short on expectations.

The Panthers — which began the campaign at 3-0 but then ran into a buzzsaw known as District A-5 — saw their campaign reach the finish line with a loss against Woodland High School, 34-21.

The promising twist is head coach Kylee Sweeney will return at least seven starters on both sides of the ball for next year.

That veteran experience — along with some of the powerhouses in A-5 graduating large chunks of seniors — suggests a much happier script for the 2019 season.

Not that the Panthers didn’t do a lot of good things in 2018.

In Friday’s game, for example, junior Heath Moles seized nine receptions for 114 years and a touchdown — and also grabbed two interceptions. His season total is seven picks, which might be the top in Class A, Sweeney said.

Moles also made 60-plus tackles for the year.

Juniors Michael Marin and Joe Cole rushed for 96 and 92 yards, respectively for the Panthers (4-6), with Marin going past the 1,000-yard rushing mark. They also each scored a touchdown.

Cole passed for 175 yards.

In addition, Ky Allen racked up 10 tackles to push him beyond the 100-tackle amount for the third-straight campaign, and Joe Smith contributed two sacks and two tackles for loss.

But, the Panthers couldn’t overcome five turnovers — three interceptions and two fumbles — to pull out a win Friday.

In addition, the ball was snapped three times over Cole’s head, for a total loss of 40 yards.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Sweeney, a phrase he has used more than once this season.

If all that weren’t enough, Sweeney lost senior receiver Christian Warford on Wednesday — but said Braden Kelly performed well in his place.

Kelly is another Panther that should contributed next season.

“We’re going to have a good group that should come back for another run,” said Sweeney.