Panthers bounced from playoffs, 41-8
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” This immortal sentiment penned by Shakespeare in Henry V, seemed an appropriate mantra for the Panthers as they faced the Chisholm Longhorns in the first round of the playoffs on Friday night.
Combined with the disadvantage of being heavily outmanned and on the road, Okemah faced another setback when Landon Dennis, a major contributor for the Panthers all season, was unable to suit up due to a knee injury from the previous game. The dual loss of Dennis and Wacey Williams, who went down in a separate injury earlier this season, put the Panthers in an unenviable position against long odds.
While the final score reflected the uphill battle that Okemah faced, a significant point was made in the final minutes of the game when Colton Parish bounded to the end zone for a 61-yard touchdown.
Trailing by 41, it would have been easy and forgivable had Okemah chose to run out the clock and put Chisholm in the rearview mirror as quickly as possible. Instead, these kids continued to play for pride, for their community and for each other and found a way to make a mark before falling to the inevitable.
Okemah started the game on offense. Tyler Campbell returned the kickoff to the Panther 30-yard line, but a quick three and out led to a fast punt.
Chisholm returned the punt to the Panther 49-yard line. The Panthers managed to get Chisholm in a tough fourth down situation but the Longhorns converted and scored one play later. Chisholm’s two-point conversion was no good and the score remained 6-0.
Tyler Campbell returned the second kick of the night out to the Panther 25-yard line but an Okemah penalty backed them up to the 12-yard line. It was a short drive that ended in an interception on the first play.
Chisholm gave away great field position inside the Panther 10-yard line with a few illegal procedure flags but overcame their mistakes a few plays later on a passing touchdown. The Longhorns failed their two-point conversion and the score remained 12-0.
The ensuing Panther drive began at the Okemah 15-yard line and for the second consecutive drive ended fairly quickly after an interception at the Panther 41-yard line on third down.
Chisholm worked their way to the goal line before fumbling the ball on a quarterback scramble and Tyler Campbell was there for the Panther recovery. Okemah failed to capitalize on the turnover and punted the ball away after a short three and out.
The Longhorns got the second quarter underway, returning the punt to the Panther 20-yard line. The Panthers were able to force a fourth down but Chisholm converted, gaining a first down and scoring just two plays later. The Longhorn two-point conversion succeeded and the score was extended 20-0.
Kaiden Bear returned the kickoff to the Panther 25-yard line and a few plays later gave Okemah it’s first, first down of the night on a terrific diving catch at the Panther 36-yard line. Unable to move the ball any farther, Okemah punted the ball away.
Chisholm took over on their side of the field and was unable to gain a first down. During the punt attempt, the snap went high and Okemah recovered at the Longhorn 17-yard line.
Facing their best opportunity to score all night, the Longhorn defense proved to be too much and Okemah failed to gain a first down, turning the ball over on downs. Neither team scored the remainder of the half.
Chisholm’s offense opened the third quarter with a lengthy time-consuming drive and scored again, stretching their lead 28-0.
Okemah once again failed to gain a first down and punted the ball back to Chisholm and the Longhorns responded by scoring in two plays, extending their lead 35-0.
The Panthers took the field and found early success with a first down when Kurtis Wilson connected to Kaiden Bear, but the drive ended a few plays later with a Chisholm interception.
Kurtis Wilson got his interception back however when he managed an interception of his own at the Panther 27-yard line and Okemah’s offense returned to the field. It was a short drive though and the Panthers were forced to punt the ball away after a three and out.
Chisholm took the game into the fourth quarter with another long scoring drive and their biggest lead of the night, 41-0.
Neither team found much success until Okemah finally found some rhythm with a ground game. Makhan Harjo and Tyler Campbell each gained a few yards before Colton Parish broke free on a 61-yard scramble to the end zone. Okemah successfully converted the two-point attempt and made the score 41-8. Chisholm then ran out the clock to end the game and the Panthers season.