By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
OKLAHOMA CITY – With nothing to gain past next week, Muskogee threatened to spoil someone else’s season here Friday night at Putnam City Schools Stadium.
But that bid, stymied at times by the type of mistakes that put it in this situation in the first place, ended with a failed onside kick with under a minute left as Putnam City took three kneel-downs to cap a 20-17 win over the Roughers.
James Buckhanan’s 9-yard pass from backup quarterback Quintahj Cherry with 34 seconds to play got Muskogee (1-7, 1-5 in District 6A-2) within three. Preston Soper’s extra-point attempt to get within a field goal of winning the game was off the mark and so was the onside kick, into a Pirate’s hands near midfield.
Except for some spirited contact on the kneel-downs which prevented the teams from a post-game handshake, that was all the Roughers have left. And all that’s left of the 2012 season is a road game against another non-playoff team, Bixby.
“We challenge our guys to battle until the end and some people don’t like that on kneel-down situations,” Muskogee coach Josh Blankenship said. “But we’re still playing defense and I understand that.”
Cherry replaced Trevor Jiles in the fourth quarter following defensive back Brandon Wolfleg’s interception on what had been Muskogee’s deepest drive of the second half – to the Putnam City 45. On his second series, Cherry directed a 47-yard scoring march.
Earlier, Jiles answered a Ryan Brownen field goal of 28 yards on the first play of the second quarter with a 62-yard pass play, capping a drive of less than two minutes of the clock to go in front. Rolling right, Jiles threw back across the field to a wide open Raundel Cooper at the Putnam City 47. He carried it in untouched, then Jiles hit Haden Kolmer in the end zone for a two-point conversion and an 8-3 advantage with 10:44 until the half.
The Pirates (6-3, 4-2), which stayed in a battle for one of the final two playoff spots in the district, then put together scoring drives on its two remaining possessions of the second quarter. Quarterback Devin White connected on a 25-yard pass to Marc Perry then rambled 75 yards for another score, breaking three tackles in the open field. That score regained the lead after Soper’s 24-yard field goal put Muskogee up 11-9.
Mackenzie McCall’s fumble recovery on a hurry-up play on a first-and-goal at the 2 snuffed the Pirates’ opening drive of the third quarter, but the Roughers were unable to take advantage of the break.
Brownen booted his second field goal with 2:11 to play in the quarter, making it 20-11. It would be enough.
“We don’t get any satisfaction out of spoiling something for somebody. We wanted to come win the dad-gum ball game,” Blankenship said.
Jiles (16 of 28, 178 yards) wasn’t injured when he left the game, and although his last play was the interception, Blankenship’s frustration seemed to cover more than that error.
“When we’re not having success, it’s cause we do something silly to kill a drive,” the coach said. “We didn’t have that many silly penalties, like false starts – I think we had two.
“It’s really about simple execution of base things we do. I won’t comment on the details of that (with players) but when you get cute or go outside of a simple scheme and get tackled for a loss or throw it backwards, when you do that, silly things happen.”
He wasn’t as critical on the failure to wrap up which enabled White, the Putnam City quarterback, to break the long touchdown run. He finished with 184 yards on 18 carries.
“It wasn’t as much a wrap-up issue as it’s been earlier in the season,” Blankenship said. “He’s pretty special, one of the better cats we’ve seen. He made us look silly at times but there were times we had him bottled up and he’d just outflank us.”
The Pirates outgained Muskogee 357-267, getting 273 on the ground.
Cherry finished 4-of-7 for 22 yards and the late TD pass.
PUTNAM CITY 20, MUSKOGEE 17
Muskogee 0 11 0 6–17
Putnam City 0 17 3 0–20
PCHS- Ryan Brownen 28 FG, 11:55.
MHS- Raundel Cooper 62 pass from Trevor Jiles (Haden Kolmer pass from Jiles), 10:44.
PC-Marc Perry 25 pass from Devin White (kick blocked), 7:37.
MHS-Preston Soper 24 FG, 4:13.
PC-Devin White 75 run (JaVone Knox run), 3:34.
PC-Brownen 30 FG, 2:11.
MHS-James Buckhanan 9 pass from Quintahj Cherry (kick failed), :34.
First Downs 14 16
Rushes-Yards 23-67 52-273
Passing Yards 200 84
Passes CAI 20-35-1 4-15-0
Punts-Avg 6-35 5-30
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 6-50 7-55
Rushing: MHS, Raundel Cooper 10-51. PCHS, Devin White 18-184 (TD).
Passing: MHS, Trevor Jiles 16-28-178 (TD). PCHS, White 4-15-84-0 (TD).
Receiving: MHS, Raundel Cooper 3-70 (TD). Marc Perry 3-84 (TD).