MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Prep Sports

September 22, 2012

Muskogee falls flat at Broken Arrow

— BROKEN ARROW – Small victory it was when Muskogee running back Mackenzie McCall broke through a tackle at the 20 en route to a 32-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter of a 61-6 loss to Broken Arrow here Friday.

It was about that spot where hope turned bizarre midway through the second quarter of the District 6A-2 opener, looking at the same end zone.

The Roughers found themselves on a 49-yard march to the Broken Arrow 28 and looking at a one-possession game. It was then that direction was reversed in a big way, starting with an offsides penalty, then snowballing on special teams – three 15-yard penalties including a running into the punt returner and personal foul on the same play.

Facing a fourth-and-59 at their own 22, a poor snap bounced on Roughers punter Preston Soper and into the hands of Alex Lewis at the 10. Three plays later, Warren Leak had a 3-yard TD run, making it 23-0.

Ironically, McCall’s late touchdown was followed by a block of Soper’s extra point attempt.

Winston Sallee, Muskogee’s deep snapper was hurt in practice this week. He was replaced by Tracy Hughes.

The punt team woes accounted for a minus-68 yards charged to rushing offense.

“What can you say on that?” MHS coach Josh Blankenship said. “Optimistically, the silly things we’re not doing as often. We’re just being outexecuted.”

The lack of execution on special teams play haunted the Roughers (0-3, 0-1) from the outset. Three plays into the game, Hughes’ first snap sailed a good five yards over Soper’s head. The senior punter gave chase and fell on the football in the end zone, making it 2-0.

The Tigers (3-1, 1-0) went 46 yards in nine plays after Austin Reed’s 37-yard return of the free kick. Quarterback Coleman Key patiently waited for a receiver on a fourth-and-9 from the 34 before taking off for 11 yards and a first down.

Two plays later, Leak scored the first of his three first-half touchdowns. He had another on BA’s first possession of the third quarter, then another Soper punt was blocked, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by P.J. Thomas on a fourth-and-goal with 5:14 left in the third, making it 40-0 with the extra point.

Freshman quarterback Quintahj Cherry, starting in place of Trevor Jiles, was 14-of-23 for 122 yards. He was intercepted once. Jefferson Moore caught five passes for 71 yards and Anthony King six for 51. McCall, making his first appearance since an ankle sprain sidelined him after a 100-plus yard first half against Sand Springs in the season opener, struggled after entering the game on the second series. Forty-seven of his 56 yards came on his final two carries.

“I came out trusting in my teammates and made up my mind I was going to have fun,” Cherry said.

He’s probably had more fun.

“He carried us which is the last thing you want to ask of a freshman,” Blankenship said. “They dominated us from the point of attack and he was able to produce some bubbles (screens). But that could be the best defense we’ll see all year.”

Jiles won’t be back for at least another week, which means Cherry will get another shot at home next Friday against Westmoore.

BA’s 26-0 halftime edge, capped with a 25-yard Ross Moore field goal with 35 seconds on the clock, was done with just 129 yards of offense.

Reed, who also lined up at receiver, was popped over the middle on a deflected pass by Sammy Richardson. The third-and-24 early in the second quarter left Reed motionless on what looked like helmet to shoulder collision. Reed was removed from the field by EMS and was reportedly getting feeling back in the ambulance.

Those numbers changed drastically after the break. The Tigers finished with 420 yards of offense in claiming their fourth consecutive win in this series.

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