Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 15, 2012

Conquerors come back to stun Sequoyah

Despite well over 30 careers starts, Sequoyah quarterback Brayden Scott couldn’t have possibly imagined an ending quite like this one.

Scott, pleading for a stop from the sidelines, watched in disbelief as Victory Christian freshman Keats Calhoon played the role of the little engine that could, orchestrating a 35-34 come-from-behind victory over the Class 3A No. 5 Indians at Thompson Stadium Friday night.

The elements played tricks on Sequoyah early, inducing back-to-back drive-killing fumbles on the Indians’ first pair of drives. The wet weather was the only thing stopping Scott & Co.

After Victory Christian’s second consecutive 3-and-out, the Indians — operating in a driving mist — drew the troops in tight and overpowered the Conquerors with seven consecutive runs, covering 89 yards. The drive, itself, appropriately culminated on a 28-yard Karter Woodruff run, during which he carried multiple would-be tacklers into the end zone. Forrest Cully’s point after put the home team ahead 7-0.

On the ensuing possession, Victory Christian delivered its only counter of the opening stanza, an 84-yard delivery from freshman quarterback Keats Calhoon to Cole Taylor.

The bad news for the Conquerors: They needed 85.

Safety Ryan Helsley tracked Taylor down from across the field, punching the football through the back of the end zone for a touchback. The play served as the first of two drastic momentum swings.

Making matters worse for the visitors, the precipitation subsided; a development that served as the green light for the Indians passing attack.

Scott connected on throws of 12, 11, 5 and 25 yards, the last of which Cody Hooper hauled in to cap a 7-play, 80-yard drive. The conversion attempt failed, leaving the margin at 13-0 — a miscue that would later haunt Sequoyah.

After another brief Conqueror possession, Niko Hammer — with the help of a teeth-rattling block from Tanner Sheets — returned a low punt to the Victory Christian 32. Two plays later, Scott fired in the direction of Hooper. Tipped, the ball caromed in the direction of Helsley, who corralled it for the score. Again, the two-point conversion failed, and the Indians led 19-0.

Another dominant defensive possession followed for SHS, yielding a 3-and-out, and returning the football to the offense.

Scott and Kyle Helsley then led a collaborative effort (7 plays, 80 yards) that culminated with a 35-yard touchdown toss from Scott to Hammer. This time, Hammer added the 2-point conversion, bumping the SHS lead to 27-0 just before halftime.

At the break, the Indians had run off 341 yards of total offense and 12 first downs.

“We did a lot of good things out both systems that we talked about,” said head coach Brent Scott. “We blocked well, we ran well, we defended well, we did special teams well. We adjusted. We had the game in hand.”

The second half began without incident, Sequoyah content to run the clock, and Victory Christian unable to advance the ball. Scott pulled the starters mid-way through the third quarter, and the score remained 27-0 as the teams switched ends to begin the fourth.

That’s when things went unbelievably haywire.

Backed up deep in minus territory, a fumbled snap was recovered by the Conquerors in the end zone, spoiling the shutout. But, at 27-7, the outcome seemed far from questionable.

After a fruitless SHS possession, it took Victory Christian just three plays to cover 70 yards, as Calhoon found Jacoby Hicks from 40-yards out to cut the lead to 27-14.

Scott responded by sending his first team offense back onto the field. A decision that was quickly rewarded when Kyle Helsley scampered 50 yards on the first play of the drive, to put the Indians ahead 34-14 with 7:11 to play.

After a Cody Hooper interception appeared to close the door on the Conquerors for good, Scott re-entered the second teamers — unbeknownst to him, however, Victory Christian still wasn’t ready to wave the white flag.

“My 2s didn’t get it done,” said Scott. “They scored, we put our 1s back in, scored on the first play, and pulled them thinking they’d pull off.”

They didn’t.

Calhoon found Hicks again on the next VC possession to cut the lead to 34-21 with 2:49 remaining.

Sequoyah, long since operating in a conservative clock mode, responded by going 3-and-out with three uninspired run plays, leaving Cully in punt formation with just over one minute remaining.

Then disaster struck.

A bad snap scooted past Cully, setting the Conquerors up with first down at the 15. Two plays later, Calhoon found Jalen Wood in the end zone. Taylor followed with the point after, and suddenly the Indians led 34-28.

The onside kick failed, but Sequoyah was unable to convert the first down needed to put the game on ice. Still, when Scott’s punt rolled dead at the 16-yard line with just 48 seconds on the game clock, the timeout-less Conquerors faced an uphill battle.

It didn’t take them long climb out.

Fleeing from pressure, Calhoon found Hicks for 32 yards on second down. One play later, he hooked up with a streaking Jonathan Jones who outran the defense, 54 yards to paydirt. Taylor broke the tie with an extra point, and the comeback was complete.

“It’s my fault,” said Brent Scott. “It’s on me. I pulled off. I’ll never pull off anyone again. I’m not the nice guy. I tried to be tonight, and it’s not me. I learned a valuable lesson.”

Scott, with only 15 seconds to work with, found Hammer for 31 on the first play of the ensuing drive, but was sacked on the following play as time expired.

“We don’t lose and we don’t like to lose,” said Scott. “Maybe it’ll be a good lesson for us. We don’t get beat much, but sometimes its good to get knocked down.”

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