Wildcats start slow, improve in second half to win

Jordan Bishop/Stillwater News Press Morrison High senior running back Calan Veit sprints against Woodland on Friday night at Dennis Casey Field. The Wildcats won 30-0.

TONKAWA – Trevor Hughes walked off of Buccaneer Field in Tonkawa pounding his helmet and yelling, “Let’s go!”

The senior and the rest of his Morrison teammates left no doubt about who was better Friday night, pounding the Buccaneers in a 30-14 victory.

The win gave the Wildcats their third in the district and puts them in control of the No. 3 spot out of the four playoff openings.

Hughes rushed 13 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns and was a big part of Morrison’s stifling defensive effort. The Wildcats forced five Tonkawa turnovers.

“(The turnovers) were great for our momentum,” Hughes said. “The coaches were able to put us in the right spots and we made plays.”

There were plenty of plays made, as Morrison (5-2, 3-2 District A-5) intercepted Buccaneer quarterback Tristan Burdick three times and recovered two fumbles, one from Burdick and the other from Kai Day.

Similar to last week’s game against Barnsdall, neither the Wildcats nor Tonkawa scored in the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, Hunter Goldman converted a one-yard score to give Morrison an 8-0 lead. Off of a turnover four minutes later, Goldman scored again from the same length to extend the lead to 14.

The Wildcats weren’t done in the first half, though, as with 52 seconds left, Hughes scored another Morrison touchdown to give it a 22-0 lead into the half.

Morrison coach Cory Bales said it felt great to see his team jump out to an early lead after several weeks of struggling to score in the first half.

“It was so nice to go in and put 22 on the board at the half,” Bales said. “That was a great kick start and it gave us a little leeway.”

Morrison’s defense put together a goal line stand midway through the third quarter to keep Tonkawa off the board, but on the Wildcats’ next offensive play, the Buccaneers recovered a fumble in the end zone. The Morrison lead was cut down to 14, but the Wildcats answered back with another Hughes rushing score on the next drive to make the advantage 30-8.

Tonkawa (5-3, 2-3) scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter to offer a glimpse of hope, but the Wildcats performed too well to lose and finished the game with the road victory.

The Morrison defense grabbed the attention with the turnovers, but Bales said an understated aspect of the Wildcats’ great night was the offensive line. It cleared the way for 216 rushing yards.

“They’ve gotten tons and tons better,” Bales said. “. . . If they’ll continue to get better then it’s at the right time.”

As Hughes and the rest of the Wildcats came off of the field, a sense of a statement being made was in the air. The Wildcats beat Tonkawa for the first time since 2015, and did so handily. For a team that has faced some tough times in the season, it’s getting hot down the stretch.

“Tonkawa came in our house last year and took everything away from us,” Hughes said. “I just told the team, ‘We gotta fight. This one is ours. I’m not gonna lose to Tonkawa four times in a row. It just ain’t gonna happen,’ I’m proud of our guys.”

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