By Matt Goisman
HAILEYVILLE — Had the Haileyville Warriors managed a couple more defensive stops or not given away quite so many offensive possessions, they might've beaten the Canadian Cougars at home Thursday night. But in allowing the Cougars to score 32 unanswered points, the Warriors just made too many mistakes to give themselves a legitimate shot at a comeback.
Plus, the Cougars had quarterback Caleb Jarrett.
Jarrett threw for three touchdowns and rushed for a fourth, leading the Cougars to 38-13 district win at Haileyville on Thursday.
“He’s always been our leader,” Canadian coach Mike Terney said of Jarrett.
“He’s going to give me 100 percent every game no matter what.”
Haileyville controlled the momentum early, stopping the Cougars' on their first two drives of the game. That second drive ended on an interception by John Morgan, and one play later Haileyville went up 7-0 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Brian Gibson.
The Warriors held the Cougars scoreless through the first four minutes of the second quarter, but Haileyville then fumbled a punt inside the Warriors’ red zone. Chance Tanner recovered it for Canadian at the Haileyville 13-yard line, setting up Jarrett's first TD pass, which went to David Gaylor.
Matt Hill's two-point run put Canadian up 8-7. Haileyville couldn't convert a fourth-and-2 on its next possession, and Jarrett took the Cougars 71 yards, hitting Paul Childers in the end zone for a 16-yard pass and a 16-7 lead after Hill's second two-point conversion.
The Cougars stopped the Warriors on the last drive of the second half, Jacob Motley recovering a fumble at the Canadian 20 with 49 seconds left. At his own 44 with just 7.4 seconds left, Jarrett connected with Hill for a 56-yard touchdown pass as the half expired.
“They kept one safety back, so I’d send two slot (receivers) out,” Jarrett said. “I’d make them pick one, and I’d throw opposite.”
Jarrett also record a 65-yard touchdown run midway through the third, putting the Cougars up 32-7. By that point momentum had completely swung Haileyville's way, and even a fourth-quarter touchdown from Carlos Manus couldn't get the Warriors mentally back into the game.
“The punt that we weren’t supposed to field, I think, caused us to break our momentum,” Haileyville coach Dennis Ford said.
“We just have to learn to win.”
Playing just their second game of the season, the Cougars made some mistakes but still managed their first win. The Warriors have now played and lost all four games this season, Haileyville’s overall losing streak now standing at 18.
Savanna 41, Coalgate 0:
Having missed the first two games of the season, Savanna running back seems to be making up for lost time. Preston rushed for three touchdowns and caught a fourth, capping a dominant trip to Coalgate, a Class 2A team, on Friday.
“The team responds well to them when they’re playing,” Bulldogs coach James Bond said of Preston and fellow running back Hunter Needham.
“We open up district play against Haileyville Friday night, so we just have to go to work.”
Bond said the Bulldogs focused on controlling the line of scrimmage, whether on offense or defense. Solid line play definitely helped Savanna lineman Daytona Trammel to force a safety late in the game.
“Just up front, mixing up blitzes and putting pressure on the quarterback,” Bond said.
“The kids really responded well this week.”
As the Bulldogs prepare to take on the winless Warriors on Friday, Bond said they’ll focus on more consistent special teams play. The Bulldogs started several possessions in Coalgate territory Friday night.
Hartshorne 40, Antlers 0:
Despite a few too many third-and-long situations, the Miners started district play in grand fashion, dominating Antlers in Friday’s Homecoming game.
“They came out hungry last night, and they played well at times,” Hartshorne coach Bill Williams said.
“That was our first district game, so it was good to get it under our belt”
Four weeks into the season, the Miners continue to get great production out of their running game. LaMarcus Morris, Dallas Herring, Dylan Pingleton and Tyler Lindley all rushed for touchdowns.
“They can both do different things, and they both have a different set of skills,” Williams said of Morris and Herring, the Miners’ primary running backs. “Dallas, he’s a little quicker, more of a tailback type. Morris is more of a run-you-over type.”
Pingleton also threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Troy Ray. Williams said linebacker Nathan Herring and defensive tackle Cody Ward led the Miners defense.
Panama 67, Wilburton 28:
Wilburton hung with Panama for one quarter, getting two touchdown runs from quarterback Cade Fite to keep the game tied 14-14.
After the first, however, it was all Panama, as three touchdowns unanswered touchdowns made it 35-14 Panama at halftime.
“The first quarter, we played as good as we’ve played all year,” Diggers coach Frank Marsaln said. “But after that, we reverted.”
Cody Arnold provided the Diggers’ biggest defensive play, returning an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter. He also had a pick-six last week against Savanna.
“He’ll go the football when it’s in the air, without a doubt,” Marsaln said of Arnold.
The Diggers play a high-speed offense, which in turn leads to more possessions for opponents. And if the defense can’t consistently get stops, as the Diggers can’t, that leads to bigger losses.
Talihina 58, Quinton 7:
Brad Davis returned a punt 55 yards late in the first quarter, but Quinton just couldn’t hang with what Quinton coach Jeremy Reeder called the “bigger, faster, stronger” Talihina Golden Tigers.
“They jumped out pretty quick,” Reeder said. “Before we knew it, it was 21-0.
“We didn’t play very well. We got some kids hurt early, and it just seemed like that first quarter everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”
Reeder said the Savages fumbled away their first two offensive possessions, which led to the Golden Tigers jumping out early.
Contact Matt Goisman at email@example.com.