Gavin Johnson McAlester

McAlester's Gavin Johnson breaks away for a 52-yard opening score for the Buffs during Saturday's game at Shawnee.

SHAWNEE—The McAlester Buffaloes used big plays and big defense to take a 34-13 win over Shawnee.

Buffs coach Forrest Mazey said he liked what he saw out of his team as they progressed throughout the game and held off their opponents.

“Good finish. I’d like to see us start a little better. I think we were sloppy early,” Mazey said. “Played good defensively, played some complimentary football at times. They found a way to finish. I think we finished strong."

In a non-district showdown, the Buffs (2-0) got things started after a short pass from quarterback Trent Boatright to Gavin Johnson resulted in a 52-yard tiptoe down the right sideline for the first score of the night.

After a kick to the Shawnee offense, McAlester used its strength and athleticism to force a quick three-and-out to get the ball back for the Buffs offense.

On the offensive possession, Dakota Moton was set loose for a big gain of 40 yards into Wolves territory. But Shawnee forced a 4th-down try for McAlester that ended just short.

However, the Buffs kept the Wolves scoreless and took a 7-0 lead after the opening quarter.

In the second quarter, the McAlester offense started marching downfield. After a whole was opened up by the offensive line, Erik McCarty busted through for a 42-yard score untouched.

The Wolves took back over on offense, but a pass to the left was batted out of the air by Dre Flowers, who brought the ball down for the interception.

Defense became the name of the game for both teams in the closing minutes of the half as the Buffs took the 13-0 lead into the locker room.

In the opening of the second half, Shawnee received the ball and made their way downfield for the score. The extra point, however, was blocked by McCarty to make the score 13-6 with eight minutes left in the quarter.

On the ensuing offensive possession, McCarty tucked the ball and evaded the grips of the Wolves defense to break out for a 76-yard score and extend the lead.

The Buffs defense forced a Shawnee punt, but the fair catch was dropped, putting the Wolves at the McAlester 16-yard line.

Defense battened down the hatches, and caused a turnover-on-downs, allowing the McAlester offense to take back the reins and make the score 20-6 after three quarters.

Shawnee answered with a defensive stop and a score on its next possession to bring the game within a score in the final quarter.

But the Buffs never let off the accelerator, and a Moton gain of over 20-yards led to a goal line punch by McCarty, sealing the game for the Buffs.

Mazey credited the offensive line for the Buffs, as they helped create opportunities for the McAlester rushing unit.

“We really put a premium on them being better this week,” Mazey said. “They took practice serious, and it worked out.”

McCarty finished the game with 18 carries for 227 yards and three touchdowns, while Moton added nine carries for 111 yards and a score. Boatright completed 7-of-13 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, with Johnson nabbing two catches for 61 yards and a score.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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