By Tommy Cobb
CHECOTAH – The 97th meeting of Oklahoma’s longest uninterrupted rivalry took on a dual meaning for the Checotah Wildcats as they went into their contest with Eufaula. Not only were bragging rights of McIntosh County at stake, but a chance to remain in the driver’s seat in District 3A-8.
The first half of the game showed the intensity of the rivalry. The second half was domination by a Wildcat team looking for a district title.
Checotah’s Tyler Addy threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns and the Wildcat defense stopped Eufaula twice near the goal line as the Wildcats defeated Eufaula, 35-7, Friday night at Ogle Field.
“The first half was as intense as ever,” said Checotah coach Brandon Turley. “Both teams came ready to play. The emotion made it a sloppy half. There were a lot of penalties.”
Checotah entered the game in a four-way tie in district play with Stigler, Roland, and Spiro. Roland beat Spiro, and Stigler's 46-6 win over Valliant would set up the Wildcats to control their own destiny next week with a win in this game.
“The way I have it figured, if Stigler wins tonight then we need to win by two points next week to win the tiebreaker,” Turley said.
But, before any of that could happen, Checotah (8-1, 5-1) needed to take care of business against the Ironheads, and did.
The Wildcats jumped out early with a spectacular catch by Deondre Owens, who came down with a deflected pass in the corner of the end zone for a 14-yard scoring strike that gave Checotah a 7-0 lead.
Checotah’s defense did its job by stopping Eufaula (1-8, 1-5) on its first two series. But a muffed punt was recovered by Dakota Ocon at the Wildcat 11. It took Eufaula five plays before Michael Sinohui scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game 7-7.
Jerry Casey scored two rushing touchdowns in the first half as Checotah built a 21-7 lead. But the big story was the Wildcat defense, which stopped Eufaula twice after the Ironheads moved inside the Checotah 10-yard line.
On fourth down at the 6, Casey sacked Eufaula quarterback Dillon Larkin for a 12-yard loss. Then just before halftime, the Ironheads moved to the Checotah 1. A holding penalty nullified a touchdown run and the Checotah defense stopped a fourth down pass at the 11.
“I like the way we respond and never lose our composure,” Turley said. “We were more settled in the second half. Deondre came up with a couple of highlight catches.”
Checotah held the Ironheads to just 15 yards rushing in the second half and stopped Eufaula’s deepest drive on fourth and two at the Wildcat 15.
Owens, who finished with eight catches for 140 yards and capped the Wildcat scoring with a 20-yard catch over the middle with a defender hanging all over him.
Michael Sinohui was the bright spot for the Ironheads’ offense as he finished with 84 yards rushing on 19 carries. Both team combined for 24 penalties for 205 yards. Checotah now leads the series, 49-47-1.
CHECOTAH 35, EUFAULA 7
Eufaula 7 0 0 0–7
Checotah 14 7 14 0–35
CHS – Deondre Owens 14 pass from Tyler Addy (Jacob Cambell kick) 7:42
EHS – Michael Sinohui 1 run (Jake Hunn kick) 3:15
CHS – Jerry Casey 4 run (Campbell kick) 0:41
CHS – Casey 1 run (Campbell kick) 4:19
CHS – Casey 12 pass from Addy (Campbell kick) 8:02
CHS – Owens 20 pass from Addy (Campbell kick) 2:35
First Downs 15 22
Rushes-Yards 42-91 30-84
Passing yards 83 301
Passes-CAI 10-20-1 22-30-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-1
Punts-Avg. 4-35 3-33
Penalties-Yards 13-106 11-99
Rushing – EHS, Michael Sinohui 19-84; CHS, Jake Coleman 11-42.
Passing – EHS, Dillon Larkin 10-19-1 83; CHS, Tyler Addy 19-24-0 279.
Receiving – EHS, Trey Moore 5-35; CHS, Deondre Owens 8-140.