Reader note: A correction on the players from Konawa ejected has been made.
GORE — The temperature was cold, but tempers were hot, and at least one Pirate will be out of next week’s playoff game. But Gore did advance, defeating the Konawa Tigers 27-6 in a Class A first-round game Friday night.
The game ended in a melee on the Konawa sideline and Gore will have to play without the help of one Pirate next week.
As for the game itself, Gore’s Weston Shanks fumbled the the ball on the second snap of the game, giving Konawa the ball near midfield. However, Josie Smith stripped the ball from the Tigers and took it 20 yards to the Konawa 26. That would set up the Pirates’ first score, a three-yard run up the middle by James Dover that made it 6-0..
Konawa would tie it on a 49-yard quarterback keeper by Silas Isaacs.
The defensive battle continued in the second quarter with a punt by the Tigers, a fumble by Gore and another punt by Konawa, before Gore finally found the end zone with 14 seconds left in the half when Shanks completed a pass to Blue Steward in the corner of the end zone and with the conversion, it was 14-6.
Though the first half had some pushing and shoving, the second half tilted to out of control. The officials warned the Tigers several times about what most Gore fans would consider dirty plays. Face masks, heavy shoving in the piles, knees in chests, just to name a few.
The Pirates tacked on a 55-yard run by Gunner Dozier with 6:31 left in the third, and a 15-yard run with 1:49 left in the quarter by Shanks capped the scoring, but as the Pirates pulled away, the extra-curricular activity increased.
"It was just out of control from the get-go. We warned the refs this could happen," said Gore coach Brandon Tyler of Gore. “It felt like an environment that could turn ugly fast.”
Konawa had three players ejected -- Dylan Love, John Lindsey and Todd Fox.
Gore's Damien Page was also ejected.
A couple of Konawa students jumped from the bleachers to the field, but did not touch the players. A verbal altercation involving a Konawa student in the press box with the coaching staff ensued with Gore fans seated below. With 3:32 left on the clock, the officials decided to let the clock run out.
Gore (10-1) will get to host a second home playoff game next week, its first such opportunity since 1996.