GORE — In the end, Michael Marin’s legs had a little more than Weston Shanks’.
Marin, the Barnsdall senior running back, was thrust into quarterback duty in the third quarter with his team up two touchdowns. What he had done at running back up to that point continued at quarterback.
Marin finished off a 276-yard night with a critical second touchdown, then helped his team hold off a late Gore charge headed by Shanks in a 29-26 outcome here Friday night in a wet and muddy second-round Class A playoff game.
Gore ends its season at 10-2. Barnsdall (9-3) advances to the quarterfinals where it will host unbeaten Cashion next week.
Marin and the Panthers were up 21-7 in the third quarter when his quarterback, Joe Cole, was ejected while playing linebacker for a targeting call as he tackled Shanks. Defensive lineman Cash Perrier was ejected on the ensuing play for a flagrant personal foul. On a drive boosted by 58 yards in penalties, Shanks took it in on a 2-yard run to make it a 21-14 game with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. It was one of his four rushing touchdowns on a 166-yard night.
Taking over at quarterback for the Panthers, Marin carried for five yards, then broke loose for 75 and a touchdown. His two-point conversion run made it 29-14 as the quarter ended.
Shanks had lost a backfield mate earlier in the third when Pirates running back James Dover went out with a re-aggravated ankle sprain following his fumble and Braden Kelley’s recovery, one of three Gore turnovers on the night and one that led to a Barnsdall score.
After getting some help from Dover’s replacement, Gunner Dozier, on a 25-yard carry, Shanks scored on the first of two 5-yard runs. His other came with 2:57 to play, but only after a costly series by the Pirates after their punt return team converged on a botched snap and set the offense up on a first-and-goal at the Panthers 2.
Four times the Barnsdall defense stuffed Shanks, even after a timeout on fourth down to consider options. A field goal would have put them within a possession of the lead.
“We’d gotten in from the 2 all year long so we weren’t going for a field goal there,” said Gore head coach Brandon Tyler. “Give them credit, with the offensive line we had we’ve been confident in getting it done all year and they keep us from punching it in.”
Marin ran the rest of the clock out on runs.
The Pirates reached the red zone on its first possession of the second half, getting as deep as the 17. Cole came up with an interception to stop that drive.
Gore struck pay dirt on its second possession of the game, driving 52 yards in seven plays. On a less than ideal night for passing, Shanks found Damien Page in the flat for 25 yards to the Panthers 11. Four plays later, Shanks took it on from two yards out with 2:27 left in the opening quarter.
Barnsdall would waste little time answering, a five-play, 73-yard march. Marin broke loose for 27 yards and with the conversion, the game was even at 7.
On its ensuing possession, Gore had a shot to go back in front, starting from its own 26. A Shanks toss for 21 yards to Dozier and a 20-yard gain by Shanks, that getting a first-and-goal at the 4, were the key plays. But on the very next snap a fumbled exchange was recovered by Barnsdall defensive lineman Matthew Lucas at the 14.
Following an exchange of possessions, the Panthers took the lead for good when Cole’s toss up the middle to Marin went for 49 yards to the Gore 4. Cole then scored on a keeper, making it 14-7 with :25 left.
The Pirates haven’t made it to the quarterfinals since Tyler made it as a player in 1990. He’s led the Pirates to three consecutive playoff trips after taking over a struggling program in 2017.
“The kids competed all night long,” Tyler said. “But we’re still learning. We talked all week about not turning the ball over and expecting to win a second-round game doing it. We missed our share of opportunities, but yet we could have quit down 21-7 and didn’t. If we just capitalize on two of those three chances, we’re moving on.”
BARNSDALL 29, GORE 26
GHS-Weston Shanks 2 run (Christian O’Connor kick), 2:27.
BHS-Michael Marin 27 run (Braden Kelley kick), 0:56.
BHS-Joe Cole 4 run (Kelley kick), 0:25.
BHS-Heath Moles 13 pass from Cole (Kelley kick), 1:55.
GHS-Shanks 2 run (O’Connor kick), 0:24.
BHS-Marin 75 run (Marin run), 0:00.
GHS-Shanks 5 run (run failed), 10:47.
GHS-Shanks 5 run (pass failed), 2:57.
Rushing: Barnsdall, Marin 28-276 (2 TD). Gore, Shanks 37-166 (4 TD).
Passing: Barnsdall, Cole 5-14-84 (TD). Gore, Shanks 3-8-51-1.
Receiving: Barnsdall, Marin 2-42. Gore, Damien Page 1-25.