Muskogee’s TK Thompson, right, tries to run over Bartlesville’s Rhett Foreman on Friday at Indian Bowl. The Roughers lost 52-24.

Senior Dylan McCoy was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bartlesville Bruins Friday night as he scored three touchdowns, a field goal, kicked seven extra points, and returned kicks and punts as the Bruins kept the Muskogee Roughers winless through five games with a 52-24 victory in a District 6AII-2 encounter at Indian Bowl.

McCoy set the tone for the game as he scampered 67 yards on the Bruins’ first play from scrimmage to give Bartlesville a 7-0 lead with just over two minutes gone in the game. After the Roughers fumbled on their next possession, the Bruins got the ball on the Rougher 43-yard line and drove it home in just five plays with running back/tight end Braedon Winters getting the score.

Muskogee stopped the bleeding momentarily as the Roughers drove 62 yards in 11 plays on their next possession with sophomore quarterback Walker Newton taking it in from the 2-yard line to make it 14-7 with 46 seconds left in the first quarter.

Muskogee (0-5, 0-2) lost a good opportunity in the second quarter after they got the ball on the Bruin 34 after McCoy touched a knee while fielding a low snap for a punt. But after getting to the Bartlesville 23, Newton was sacked on third down and the Roughers were unable to convert on fourth down.

“We had some of the same problems that have plagued us all season long with a shuffling of players and youth,” said Roughers head coach Rafe Watkins.

The Bruins took over and methodically rolled 69 yards, going to third down only once before settling for a 19-yard McCoy field goal to make it 17-7. But on Muskogee’s turn with the ball, Brandon Tolbert coughed it up at the Rougher 17 and two plays later McCoy, who finished the night with 201 yards rushing, got his first touchdown on an 8-yard run.

And in the course of just 23 seconds, Bartlesville was up 24-7. 

Bruin quarterback Paxton Bradford added to Muskogee’s misery late in the half on 43-yard touchdown strike to Caden Davis to make it 31-7. But the Roughers, using a 39-yard pass from Newton to Antonio Zapata and a pass interference call against the Bruins, tallied with just 12 seconds left in the half on a 9-yard run by Brandon Batise to make it 31-14 at intermission.

McCoy returned the second half kickoff to the Rougher 41 and it took just four plays for the Bruins to put another score on the board on a 23-yard run by Davis and the game started getting away from the Roughers at 38-14. Muskogee added 10 more points on a Skyleer Onebear 22-yard field goal and Newton’s second touchdown run of the night while the Bruins (2-4, 1-2) got a 6-yard run by Winters and McCoy, fittingly, ended the scoring with a 56-yard run after mishandling a snap on a punt attempt.

Plagued by injuries and inexperience from freshmen and sophomores having to step in and learn on the go, Watkins spoke about “guys who gave it their all” among the increasingly challenging circumstances.

“Zapata, a kid who loves baseball, has turned in to probably our best football player,” he said. Jayden Bell is tough son of a gun. Isaiah (Givens) had a great game playing both ways. Newton threw some good balls. Teyon Brewer who has been playing some, really acted like he wanted to win his spot tonight and we had a couple of other freshmen who really stepped in and played well.”

Newton had perhaps his best game yet at quarterback as he threw for 215 yards while Rahiem Payne had three receptions for 66 yards. But the running game sputtered for Muskogee, netting just 55 yards on 36 rushes. Despite that, Watkins was still upbeat about the effort being shown by some.

“The effort and desire that a few of these young men have, if it will just continue to spread, we’ll be fine.”

Monday’s scheduled game against Putnam City West, which was postponed due to Muskogee County being in a COVID-19 Orange 2 status two weeks ago, has been postponed again due to increasing cases in the county and is rescheduled to Tuesday, October 27. So the Roughers now face the meat of their schedule with a trip to Choctaw next Thursday followed by home encounters with Bixby and Booker T. Washington.

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