By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The hard truth of high school football playoffs — win and get ready for another game — lose and turn in equipment on Monday. Unfortunately three area teams will be putting up the footballs and uniforms for a year.
The Cushing Tigers’ season ended with a 33-14 loss to Jones. Coach Barrett Shupe said turnovers were costly as it allowed Jones to take an early lead.
“We turned it over in the first quarter,” Shupe said. “We fumbled a punt return. Then right before halftime, we fumbled again and they scooped and scored from 70 yards.”
Senior running back Gage Stallworth scored the final two touchdowns of his career for Cushing’s only scores. Stallworth is one of many talented seniors that won’t be on the team next season. Cushing (8-3) will have to replace most of its offense and defense as it will enter a new district next season which features state powerhouses Kingfisher and Heritage Hall. Shupe said Cushing knows what it is losing but hopes it surprises people.
“No one is going to pay attention to us,” Shupe said. “We are going to use that as motivation in the spring. We expect to come back next year and compete for playoffs.”
The Coyle Bluejackets (8-2) ended their season with a 22-12 loss to Davenport. Coach Shane Weathers said it was a good season as his team tied a school-record for wins.
“We played hard and had opportunities,” Weathers said. “We had a couple of chances in the red zone in the second half but couldn’t get it in. I’m really proud of these seniors. They fought hard to the end.”
Weathers said he is aware he is losing some talented players but sees it as an opportunity for new players to step up.
“We are used to losing good players,” Weathers said. “It’s up to the next class to step up and lead us.”
The Perkins-Tryon Demons (5-6) closed the door on another injury-filled season with a 76-13 loss at Blanchard.
“The last two seasons have been most devasting in injuries that I’ve ever seen,” Lloyd Wertman said. “Last year it was quarterbacks. This year it was quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers. On a positive note, a lot of young players got quality playing time.”
Wertman will have to look to those young players next year as he graduates his largest class of seniors at 16.
“They are a great group,” Wertman said. “They’ve been in so many close games. Three years ago they were a part of a district championship. Half of those seniors started on that team. They are going to be sorely missed next year.”
Of the area teams in the playoffs, only Morrison advanced with a 44-7 win over Fairland.
The Wildcats will host Elmore City-Pernell Friday in the second round of the Class A playoffs.