Panthers suffer loss and injuries to Warner
By Justin Scrimshire
ONL Sports Reporter
The Okemah Panthers dropped their second district loss and fourth overall loss of the season with a 26-12 defeat at the hands of the Warner Eagles this past Friday.
Compounding the frustrating outcome were concerning injuries to Andrew Swayze and Kavon Jones.
Swayze, the starting quarterback for the Panthers, sought medical attention midway through the second quarter with an apparent shoulder injury and never returned to the game.
Jones went down in the final minute of the game with what appeared to be a lower leg injury that required him to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
Despite the injuries, untimely turnovers and the final score, the Panthers showed resiliency throughout the game, refusing to quit until the final whistle.
Warner began the game on offense but coughed the ball up to Okemah on the second play of the drive with a fumble that was recovered by Donavin Evans.
The Panthers were unable to capitalize on the turnover and punted back to Warner after a quick three and out.
The Eagles then put the first points of the night on the board after a quick, four-play drive culminated with a 17-yard touchdown on a quarterback keeper. A successful field goal gave Warner a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
Okemah and Warner both exchanged unsuccessful drives before Okemah put together their first scoring drive of the night that began at the Warner 45-yard line.
Trae Woods put Okemah in great scoring position with a 26-yard run, followed up with another 9-yard run a few plays later that put Okemah at the Warner 5-yard line.
Blake Gaxiola pounded the ball into the end zone in the final seconds of the first quarter for the score. An unsuccessful two-point conversion made the game 6-7.
Warner’s following drive would ultimately turn over to Okemah on a failed fourth down attempt, but Okemah would give the ball right back to the Eagles after a fumble near midfield.
The Eagles struck quickly after the turnover, with a 53-yard passing touchdown. The Eagle lead increased to 14-6 after the successful extra point kick.
Warner kept their offense on the field after a successful onside kick following their touchdown but turned the ball over to Okemah after a failed fourth down attempt.
However, the Panthers fumbled the ball on the first play of the drive with Warner recovering. This was the play that saw the injury to Andrew Swayze.
Warner’s next drive ended with a punt but Okemah turned the ball over again in just one play after a bad snap led to a quick throw that resulted in an interception.
Warner capitalized on the turnover with their third touchdown of the night on a 17-yard passing play. A failed extra point attempt gave the Eagles a 20-6 lead that would carry the game into halftime.
Okemah opened the second half on offense but returned to defense after an interception to Warner.
A quick three and out led to a punt back to Okemah with Cameron Swayze setting the Panthers up with good field position after returning the punt to the Warner 23-yard line.
Trae Woods moved Okemah to the 3-yard line with a 20-yard rushing attempt and Cameron Swayze found Landen Lee for a 3-yard passing touchdown. A failed two-point conversion kept the score 12-20.
Warner’s next possession was intercepted by Cameron Swayze but Okemah turned the ball over on downs shortly after.
Neither team scored the remainder of the third quarter and nearly all of the fourth. Warner scored their final touchdown of the night on a 20-yard passing touchdown with six seconds remaining on the clock, taking a 26-12 lead. This was the drive that saw the injury to Kavon Jones.
Despite an inevitable loss staring him in the face, James Beasley wasn’t ready to call it a night and nearly took the ensuing kickoff all the way to the house before finally being tackled inside the Warner 10-yard line, bringing the game to its conclusion.
Okemah will return to the Pecan Bowl this Friday to host the 3-2 Vian Wolverines. Kickoff is set for 7 pm.