Panthers dominate Bulldogs, 44-6
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
Okemah travelled to Savanna for a Thursday night clash with the Bulldogs and erased the disappointment of their previous loss with an excellent performance on both sides of the ball, cruising to a 44-6 victory.
The Panthers improved their record to 4-2 after scoring on six of their nine offensive drives, forcing four turnovers on defense and recovering an onside kick.
Okemah began the game on offense at the 50-yard line after a failed onside kick from Savanna. The Panthers punched the ball into the end zone in just four plays with rushing attempts from Colton Parish, Makhan Harjo and Mikey Cruz. Cruz was responsible for the scoring touchdown from inside the 10-yard line. The successful two-point conversion gave Okemah an early 8-0 lead.
Savanna took the field on offense but a stifling Panther defense shut them out quickly, including a sack Korbyn Vansant. The Bulldogs punted back to Okemah and again the Panthers found the end zone in just a few plays. After two rushing attempts from Mikey Cruz and Makhan Harjo, Kurtis Wilson connected with Mason Cruz for a 16-yard gain down inside the 10-yard line. Mikey Cruz rushed his way into the end zone two plays later and the successful two-point conversion extended the Panther lead, 16-0.
The following Savanna drive resulted in the only points of the night for the Bulldogs. The attempted two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the score remained 16-6. The Panther defense would shut out the Bulldog offense for the remainder of the night.
Okemah’s third drive of the night began at midfield after another unsuccessful onside attempt from Savanna. The Panthers kept the ball on the ground the entire drive, scoring on six rushing attempts with the touchdown coming on a short burst at the goal line from Makhan Harjo as time expired in the first quarter. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful but the Panther lead had been extended, 22-6.
The Bulldogs began their next drive and worked their way into Panther territory before Kurtis Wilson interrupted things with an interception, giving Okemah the ball at their own 20-yard line.
Again the Panthers kept the ball on the ground, pounding their way inside Savanna territory. Okemah introduced a new wrinkle into their offensive scheme when they began handing the ball off to Braden Little. Little’s impact was felt right away when he burst into the end zone from three yards out. The successful two-point conversion gave Okemah a 30-6 lead.
Savanna returned to the field and looked to be in prime scoring position after a long passing play put them inside the Okemah 20-yard line, but again the Panther defense thwarted that hope with an interception from Colton Parish.
Okemah effectively moved the ball downfield on the legs of Mikey Cruz, Makhan Harjo, Colton Parish and Braden Little. Kurtis Wilson also connected with Mason Cruz giving the Panthers a first down at the Bulldog 20-yard line. Mikey Cruz rushed his way into the end zone on a 15-yard scamper two plays later. The successful two-point conversion gave Okemah a 38-6 lead.
The Panthers followed up their scoring drive with a successful onside kick, remaining on offense. However, for the first time in the game, Okemah was unable to score and turned the ball over on downs. Savanna was unable to make anything happen with the short time left on the clock and the first half ended with Okemah leading 38-6.
The Bulldogs started the second half on offense but on their very first play, Kurtis Wilson came up with an interception. The Panthers returned on offense and again pounded it out on the ground with rushing attempts from Mikey Cruz, Makhan Harjo and Colton Parish. Kurtis Wilson also connected a pass to Ethan Hodgens for a first down. Ultimately, Colton Parish drove the final nail into the coffin with a 5-yard rushing touchdown. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful but the damage was complete as the Panthers led 44-6.
With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, the referees began a running clock, as the game was well in hand for Okemah. As time quickly evaporated from the scoreboard, neither team put together a successful scoring drive and the score remained 44-6 for the remainder of the night. The large deficit allowed younger Panther players the opportunity to take the field. Andrew Swayze stepped in at quarterback and Graysen Clark, Landon Dowell, Donavin Evans and Rowdy Williams all saw action and were given opportunities to run the ball.
The Panthers will return to Okemah for a final two-week home stand before finishing the regular season on the road. The Panthers will host Konawa inside the Pecan Bowl on Friday, October 23rd with the game beginning at 7 pm.