Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

September 14, 2013

Homecoming horror: Keys blanked against Checotah

PARK HILL – The Keys Cougars can blame it on youth or on Homecoming week festivities.

Whatever the reason, the Checotah Wildcats came to their homecoming and were the ones ready to dance after the game as they walloped Keys 44-0 in the battle of Class 3A teams.

With the victory, Checotah moves to 2-0 on the season, while Keys drops to 0-2.

The game did not start well for Keys, as Checotah's Cody Cox took the opening kick and returned it 44 yards and Checotah was set up at the Keys 37-yard line.

However, the Cougars’ defense stiffened and forced a punt that rolled to the Keys 5 yard line. It seemed to be all down hill from there.

On the second play from scrimmage, the snap sailed high over the head of Garrett Willis and rolled into the end zone. Willis had no choice but to fall on the ball and Checotah had found themselves with a 2-0 lead. The ensuing free kick also was a disaster for Keys. Checotah's Drew Dan fielded the kick at Checotah's 35-yard line and weaved left, found the sideline, and 65 yards later the Wildcats increased their lead to 8-0.

Keys could not manage antynjng offensively.

The Cougars had seven possessions in the first half and had no points to show for it. Checotah's defense held the Cougars to 73 total yards in the first half.

"It's obvious that (Checotah) came out ready to play and we didn't,” Keys coach Gary Willis said. “They beat us in every phase of the game.”

After the two teams traded punts, Checotah started its third drive at its 28. The ensuing nine-play drive took only 3:24 off the clock but accounted for 82 yards and was capped off when Caleb Knight found Cody Cox on a 34 yard touchdown pass. With Keaton Donathan's 2-point conversion, the Wildcats built a 16-0 first quarter lead.

Lighting struck for Checotah on the next possession when Knight found Dan for an 87-yard catch and with the extra point added by Jacob Campbell, the Wildcat lead had ballooned to 23-0.

"I saw the safety come down to a 2, and that meant skinny post and Caleb (Knight) gave me a pretty pass and I just ran," Dan said.

The next possession for Checotah was equally productive.

Knight dropped back and found Campbell on a 13-yard toss and with Campbell's kick, the Wildcats were rolling at 30-0.

The last drive of the fourth quarter for Checotah was also a scoring drive and was capped of when Knight snuck in from a yard out and the Wildcats moved their lead to 37-0.

The final scoring drive for Checotah started on their own 40-yard line and four plays later, Knight found Malik Slaton, who had gotten behind the defense, for a 36-yard toss to increase the lead to 44-0.

Checotah coach Chad Hendricks was pleased with his team's performance.

"We kinda stalled a little in the first quarter, but the special teams played well," he said. "I thought it was a team effort. They stacked the box, which affected out running game, but we were able to throw the ball. Pleased with the defense, we got the shutout."

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