By Nick Hampton
First and foremost, according to Muskogee football coach Josh Blankenship, it was about getting the win. Playoff scenarios were secondary.
The Roughers rolled to a 17-point first half lead and then hung on down the stretch to defeat the Putnam City Pirates 33-23 in District 6A-2 action at Muscogee (Creek) Nation Field at Indian Bowl Friday night.
The victory keeps the Roughers’ faint playoff hopes alive. Muskogee (2-7, 2-4) needed to get the maximum 15 points allowable to make the road easier, but by not accomplishing that, the Roughers have to defeat Bixby at home next Friday night and hope for an Edison victory over Sapulpa to earn a trip to Union and their first postseason trip since 2010.
Putnam City fell to 2-7 and 0-6 in district.
Muskogee wasted no time in getting on the board in this game. On the Roughers’ first play from scrimmage, sophomore quarterback Quintahj Cherry tossed a flare pass to Anthony King who beat the Pirates to the outside and down the sideline for a 72-yard score. Chase Soper’s extra point made it 7-0 with just 18 seconds gone in the game.
Muskogee mistakes kept it from being a first-half blowout, although the 27-10 advantage turned out to be sufficient.Following a Putnam City punt to the Rougher 21, a high snap over Cherry’s head went all the way back to the end zone where it was recovered by Donnyll Dailey of the Pirates for a touchdown to knot the score at 7-7.
Muskogee’s defense excelled once again as they forced a Putnam City fumble deep in Rougher territory on one possession and later, after another fumble gave the Pirates the ball at the Muskogee 7, the defense held and forced Putnam City to take a 21-yard field goal for its only lead at 10-7.
Three of Muskogee’s first-half touchdowns came on one-play scoring drives. Tyriq Beasley broke loose for a 67-yard touchdown run and the duo of Cherry and King hooked up twice more in the half on strikes of 46 and 35 yards, giving the pair three firs-half touchdowns.
According to King, who had four catches for 154 yards, it was all about the execution.
“We came out and executed very well and just kept fighting,” said King. “It means a lot to me to win since I’m winding up my career here at home next week.”
But the Pirates made adjustments at the half that made life difficult for the Roughers. On their second possession of the half, Putnam City went 62 yards in 10 plays eating up six minutes with Knox going over from a yard out to make it 27-17. Through the third and half of the fourth quarter the Roughers ran just nine plays, not counting punts, and were unable to get the ball in King’s hands again.
“They (Putnam City) started coming off the edge a lot harder and that made it harder for us to run the ball which we had to do in order to set up the pass,” said Blankenship.
As the game moved into the late stages, Muskogee looked like it would get both the win and the 15-point margin as Jacouri Freeman capped a 74-yard drive with a 19-yard run to make it 33-17 as the extra point kick was blocked.
But to Putnam City’s credit, it didn’t quit as it drove from its own 35 to the Rougher 10. A sack by Tramal Ivy pushed the ball back to the 28. But on third and goal from that point, the penalty bug bit hard as Muskogee was called for roughing the passer, moving ball all the way to the 7 yard line with less than a minute to play.
Now with first and goal, Hudson found Austin Williams open just across the goal line for the score to make it 33-23 after a failed two point conversion try.
For the game Muskogee was penalized 14 times for 125 yards.
“Obviously when you have as few wins as we do, a win is a win,” said Blankenship. “That’s a hard process to get youngsters to learn how to win. So I’m excited we got the W and I’m excited for the seniors and I just want to go out and do it again.”
MUSKOGEE 33, PUTNAM CITY 23
Muskogee 14 13 0 6—33
Putnam City 10 0 7 6—23
MHS- Anthony King 72 pass from Quintahj Cherry (Chase Soper kick) 11:42
PCHS-Donnyll Dailey fumble recovery in end zone (Jamie Flowers kick) 9:26
PCHS-Flowers 21 field goal 1:43
MHS- Tyriq Beasley 67 run (Soper kick) 1:29
MHS- King 46 pass from Cherry (Soper kick) 6:00
MHS- King 35 pass from Cherry (kick failed) 1:56
PCHS- Javone Knox 1 run (Flowers kick) 2:50
MHS- Jacouri Freeman 19 run (kick failed) 2:39
PCHS- Austin Williams 7 pass from Braden Hudson (conversion failed) :23
First Downs 16 10
Rushes-Yards 41-104 30-141
Passing Yards 140 191
Passes (C-A-I) 8-24-1 10-14-1
Fumbles-lost 1 2
Punts-Avg 4-43 4-26
Penalties-yards 8-95 14-125
RUSHING- MHS, Tyriq Beasley 10-94; PCHS Javone Knox 28-125
PASSSING- MHS, Quintahj Cherry 10-14-3 191; PCHS Braden Hudson 8-24-1 140
RECEIVING- MHS, Anthony King 4-154; PCHS Gerrell Murry 4-111