Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

November 19, 2012

Cougar slayers

Led by Matt Woolslayer, Metro Christian manhandles Keys in second-round playoff matchup.

TULSA — Different venue, same result for Keys in the second round of the playoffs.

Matt Woolslayer threw for three touchdowns and ran for three more as Class 3A No. 5 Metro Christian upended Keys, 42-14, to dispatch of the Cougars from the playoffs.

“Hats off to them; they’re really good,” Keys coach Gary Willis said. “They do the little things right, and they’re a good football team.”

Metro Christian improved to 10-2 and advances to the 3A quarterfinals, where the Patriots will take on Seminole. Keys’ season ends at 7-4.

For the second straight season, Keys’ season came to a close in Tulsa in the second round of the 3A playoffs. Cascia Hall sent the Cougars packing in 2011, and thanks to Woolslayer, Metro Christian repeated the trend in 2012.

Woolslayer failed to generate any offense on the Patriots’ opening drive, but he rectified that after Metro Christian and Keys traded three-and-outs to open the contest.

Woolslayer, a 6-foot, 200-pound senior quarterback, punctuated Metro Christian’s first scoring drive with a 2-yard run at the 6:13 mark in the first quarter.

Then, disaster struck for Keys.

Following Woolslayer’s score, the Cougars followed with a quick turnover, handing the ball over on a fumble by Cody Cole on the first play of the drive.

All Woolslayer needed was one play to put the Patriots up 14-0. He found Jake Koenig for a 23-yard touchdown pass and 21 seconds after their first score the Patriots led 14-0.

“That was huge,” Woolslayer said. “We knew if we could jump out on them, maybe we could — not necessarily coast it in — but it would help us in the second half to not have to press as much. Luckily, we got some turnovers.”

The Cougars, a week after forcing three Spiro turnovers in a first-round victory, handed the ball over four times (three fumbles, one interception) against Metro Christian.

“Turnovers always kill ya,” said Willis, whose club fumbled on back-to-back possessions to end the second quarter and to start the third quarter, with Keys quarterback Trevor Eubanks tossing an interception midway through the third period.

Woolslayer also threw an interception — only his seventh of the season — immediately after Eubanks was picked off by Danny Burke. Other than that, Woolslayer was nearly the definition of perfection the rest of the game.

Woolslayer — a wide receiver who caught 38 passes as a junior last season for the Patriots — completed 18 of 23 passes for 233 yards while also running for 101 yards on 17 carries.

“In our system, I’m not asked to do a lot; [I] depend on my teammates to make plays after about five-yard throws by me,” Woolslayer said. “I’m not zinging it around a whole lot. We’ll take shots every once in a while, and it’s awesome when we hit ‘em. It’s mostly just receivers making plays.”

Woolslayer continued his scoring barrage in the second period on touchdown runs of four and three yards. The Patriots would eventually lead 28-0 at halftime.

The Cougars, though, had a chance to take some momentum into the locker room at intermission.

Inside two minutes left in the opening half, Eubanks connected with wide receiver, Tyler Blankenship, over the middle of the field, and Blankenship appeared to headed toward a 75-yard touchdown reception. However, Blankenship, with only one Metro Christian defender to beat, was tripped by the Patriots’ Danny Burke, who limited Blankenship to only a 30-yard reception — Keys’ longest pass play of the night.

“That was big right there,” said Willis, whose team turned the ball over two plays later. “Last I looked, they’re the No. 2 defense in 3A, so they’re pretty solid back there.”

Metro Christian Jared McCoy said keeping Keys out of the end zone before halftime was certainly a boost for his club.

“It’s not just the score, it’s the momentum going into halftime,” he said. “I felt like that helped us. And that’s what you want to do: hustle and make effort plays, and I think that’s probably what that was for Danny.”

Burke, Metro’s Christian’s leading receiver entering the game, got involved on offense in the second half with two touchdown receptions. He hauled in a 48-yard score early in the third quarter, a 21-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter and ended up with a game-high five receptions for 82 yards.

Sandwiched in between Burke’s 10th and 11th touchdown catches of the season was Keys’ first touchdown of the game on a Eubanks’ 53-yard dash down the left boundary.

Eubanks would add another Keys score (a 4-yard run) with 1:14 left in the game and finish with 103 yards on 13 rushes.

The Cougars finished with 264 yards of total offense, compared to Metro Christian’s 363.

“I was glad to see that we could hold them to seven [points] with our No. 1s,” McCoy said of his defense, which allowed more than 10 points for only the fourth time this season.

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