Barry Lewis: Union is looking for a 'four-peat'
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, November 28, 2011
11/28/11 at 5:38 AM
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Union Senior safety-linebacker Kyle Crutchmer has been one of the area's top defensive players throughout the season, although he is often overshadowed by teammate Blace Walser, who is the school's career tackles leaders.
Crutchmer made two key defensive plays late in the Redskins' 30-29 victory over Jenks in the Class 6A semifinals on Friday night. With just over five minutes left, he made a touchdown-saving play when he shoved Trey'Vonne Barr'e out of bounds on a 58-yard run to the Union 7. He then helped lead a goal-line stand that ended with him knocking down a desperation pass after the snap was mishandled on an 18-yard field goal. Those plays enabled Union to protect its one-point lead and keep alive its bid for a fourth straight state title.
Second-ranked Union (12-1) will play No. 3 Broken Arrow (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the title game at Stillwater's Boone Pickens Stadium.
The matchup against Jenks was good preparation for Union going into the championship game as Broken Arrow also has a dynamic running back duo of Devon Thomas and Cameron Wrenn.
"Jenks has a good run game," Crutchmer said. "Ross and Barr'e are very tough runners, so coming out with a win to have a chance at a four-peat is very exciting."
Crutchmer, who returned an interception 100 yards for a key TD in a regular-season win over Jenks, is an Oklahoma State wrestling signee. He also is versatile on the football field as personnel losses at tailback have led to him seeing time at that position during November. He had a combined six carries for 61 yards against Stillwater in the regular-season finale and Edmond North in the quarterfinals. Against Jenks, he had 10 carries for 30 yards.
"It's fun," Crutchmer said about playing on offense. "I used to play running back in my youth days. I want to do whatever I can to help my teams win games. If they need me at quarterback, heck I would try it."
Union, which beat Broken Arrow 21-14 in Week 3, will go into the title game coming off consecutive one-point wins that required late defensive stands. Another defensive standout in Union's past two wins is cornerback Devon Davis, who had a pivotal interception against Jenks and had a saving interception against Edmond North.
Thomas sets record: Thomas, a sophomore who rushed for 243 yards in Broken Arrow's 30-17 semifinal win over Owasso, has set the school's season-rushing record with 1,770 yards, passing Steven Hopper's mark of 1,516 in 2008.
Broken Arrow's Levi Copelin, a two-way player, had a key interception against Owasso. He leads 6A with nine interceptions.
Jenks looks ahead: Jenks failed to reach the state title game for the first time since 2005. A key play in its playoff loss that year was missing a late short field goal that would have tied the game against Sapulpa.
Despite the loss to Union, Jenks coach Allan Trimble sees positives from the 10-3 season.
"We grew a lot as a team," Trimble said. "I praised the seniors for their great leadership and not allowing the team to stumble. I'm proud of them.
"The senior leadership was tremendous. We lost so many starters and a lot of key players. At times, we had seven sophomores that had to play. We got better every week."
Weather, injuries plague Metro: Third-ranked Metro Christian's season ended with a 34-14 loss at No. 5 Anadarko in the 3A quarterfinals on Friday. A tough matchup for Metro, which was facing state rushing leader Sheldon Wilson, became even more difficult when heavy rain fell in the second half, hampering 3A's top passer, Andrew Hearon.
Metro (12-1) also was hampered by being without starting linebacker Michael Brothers, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament in the second round, and starting center Tommy Chapman, who suffered an Achilles injury in Thursday's practice.
Hearon, who passed for 91 TDs over the past two seasons, competed in the playoffs with a minor shoulder separation.
"I told our players that sometimes things aren't going to go your way," Metro coach Jared McCoy said. "It was a great year for us."
Showdown week: There are three playoff matchups of No. 1 and No. 2 teams this week - No. 1 Oklahoma City Heritage Hall vs. No. 2 Cascia Hall in the 3A semifinal on Friday at Stillwater's Pioneer Stadium; No. 1 Thomas vs. No. 2 Woodland in the Class A semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Enid; and No. 1 Davenport vs. No. 2 Caddo in the Class B final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Newcastle.
Original Print Headline: Union goes for 'four-peat'
World Sports Writer Eric Bailey contributed to this column