PAWNEE – Even with one less Cook in the kitchen, Pawnee had no trouble on the field Friday night.
The Black Bears trampled Quapaw on their way to a 66-28 home victory at Memorial Field in the second round of the Class A playoffs. With the win, they advance in the OSSAA playoffs to the third round.
Pawnee coach Russell Cook was unable to lead the Black Bears on the sideline, as he was in quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns. Although it might have felt different for the players, it didn’t show in their performance.
Blake Skidgel generated just 99 total yards, but scored four touchdowns, three rushing and one passing, for Pawnee. Trevor Mitchell and Barrett Stevenson combined for 250 more rushing yards and four additional touchdowns.
The Black Bears (8-1) scored on every offensive possession they completed. The Wildcat defense had no answer.
All it took for Pawnee to get on the scoreboard was one offensive play and 18 seconds. Stevenson took the game-opening handoff, bowled over a Quapaw defender and took it 82 yards for a touchdown.
The big play jarred Quapaw, as quarterback Kale Thomasson threw an interception on the second play of the ensuing drive. That was one of four Quapaw turnovers in the game.
A few plays later, the Black Bears and Skidgel punched in another score on a rush from nine yards out.
The floodgates stayed open on the next kickoff, as Quapaw couldn’t handle the ball off of the tee and allowed Pawnee to recover it.
Just two plays later, Skidgel connected with Trevor Mitchell on an 11-yard passing score to bump the Black Bears’ lead to 22-0.
By the time Quapaw ran its third offensive play, it trailed by three scores.
The Wildcats did battle back though, and they took their next drive 65-yards down the field to the end zone, as Seth Johnston squeezed his way past the goal line for a six-yard rushing touchdown.
The lone first-half concession on defense didn’t phase Pawnee’s offense. Mitchell slipped through several tackles on the Black Bears’ next drive, adding another touchdown on the ground to end the first quarter.
After the first 12 minutes on the game clock, Pawnee led Quapaw 30-7. The Wildcats were learning the hard way why the Black Bears are known for their punishing ground attack.
The second quarter calmed down a bit, but Pawnee’s offense still excelled. Skidgel cut his way through the Wildcat defense for a 27-yard scoring scamper to extend the lead to 36-7 with 8:11 left in the second quarter.
The score held until the halftime break, after Quapaw staged a long, fruitless seven-minute drive down the stretch of the frame.
The Black Bears poured it on in the third quarter, tallying three more touchdowns to the Wildcats’ one. Skidgel and Stevenson each added another score on the ground, and Conner Lieb recovered a Mitchell fumble in the end zone for six more points.
The two teams combined for 21 more points in the final quarter, but it didn’t affect the bigger picture and result.
The Black Bears cruised to their eighth-straight victory of the season. Pawnee will host Colcord in the third round, as the Hornets scored 27 unanswered points in the second half to beat Konawa 41-18 on Friday. The Black Bears blew out Colcord, 54-0, in their playoff clash a year ago.
Whether Cook is coaching his team next week, Pawnee put Class A on alert with its offensive performance against Quapaw.