By Tommy Cobb
VIAN – Vian and Eufaula played through a sluggish first half of football Friday night. But a hail mary pass and a dominating third quarter turned the fortunes of the Wolverines.
Vian’s Eric Casey rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns and scored another on a pass before halftime as the Class 3A No. 3 Wolverines defeated Eufaula, 27-7, at St. John Stadium.
“We’ve been out of school the last two days and we lost our routine and our rhythm,” said Vian coach Brandon Tyler. “We made some adjustments at halftime. We made a lot of mistakes, but we played really well in the third quarter.”
Turnovers hurt Eufaula in the first quarter as an Ironhead interception led to a Vian touchdown and a fumble near the goal line squandered scoring position set up by a 76-yard kickoff return by Devon Siers.
Siers burned the Wolverine defense for an 84-yard scoring pass from Dillon Larkin to give Eufaula its only lead at 7-6.
Vian started its final possession of the half at its own 30. But a pass interference call moved the Wolverines near midfield. Vian found itself with one final play and quarterback Rylee Simon threw it up for grabs in the end zone. It was Casey who came up with an improbable catch the gave the Wolverines a 14-7 lead.
“I thought they intercepted it,” Tyler said. “But it was a great athletic play that really swung the momentum.
The third quarter was all Vian as conditioning began to pay off for the Wolverines while it hurt Eufaula.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Ironhead coach Larry Newton. “We’re in shape, but, after halftime, it seemed like all we could do was cramp up. It disrupted our flow. We’re not deep enough to sub a lot of guys. When we finally got all our guys in we were able to move the ball, but it was too late.”
Vian’s defense kept pressure on Larkin the entire quarter coming up with four sacks. The Wolverine defense held Eufaula to negative rushing yardage and just one pass completion of 13 yards.
Meanwhile, the Wolverine offense was able to move the ball and score on both possessions of the quarter. Simon gave Vian a 20-7 lead when he faked to Casey and then rushed up the middle for a 55-yard scoring run. Simon finished with 108 yards rushing.
Vian overcame two penalties on it next drive and drove 60 yards on eight plays to take a 27-7 lead on a 6-yard run by Casey.
Siers returned the ensuing kickoff 67 yards to the Vian 18. But four plays later, the Ironheads were stopped on downs without gaining a yard.
First Downs 8 19
Rushes-Yards 29-97 44-248
Passing Yards 127 109
Passes 6-13-1 10-16-1
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 1-1
Punts-Average 4-28 3-42
Penalties-yards 13-94 4-45
Score by quarters
Eufaula 0 7 0 0 – 7
Vian 6 8 13 0 – 27
VHS – Eric Casey 5 run (kick blocked) 5:37
EHS – Devon Siers 84 pass from Dillon Larkin (Jake Hunn kick) 8:14
VHS – Casey 36 pass from Rylee Simon ( Simon run) 0:03
VHS – Simon 55 run (run fail) 7:16
VHS – Casey 6 run (A.J. Rodriguez kick) 1:31
Rushing – EHS, Casey Pryor 6-48; VHS, Eric Casey 27-139.
Passing – EHS, Dillon Larkin 6-13-1 127; VHS, Rylee Simon 10-16-1 109.
Receiving – EHS, Devon Siers 3-117; VHS, Shamal Evans 7-55.