Coweta musters win over Pryor
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Saturday, September 22, 2012
9/22/12 at 6:28 AM
PRYOR - The word all week during Coweta football practice: perseverance.
Little did the Tigers know that it was more than just lip service to motivate players and something seriously needed at Pryor on Friday night.
Class 5A's No. 6 Tigers outlasted Pryor's Tigers 36-27 in a hard-fought homecoming game before 2,500.
Coweta (3-1) won the District 5A-4 opener largely due to gutty performances by quarterback Hayden Holmes and running back Jakeem Johnson and an enterprising defense that forced five Pryor turnovers.
Coweta did not breathe easy until the last minute when Major May intercepted a Pryor pass.
"It was probably one of the toughest games I've ever played in my life," Holmes said. "I can't say how proud I am of the team and how they persevered."
Holmes, who missed some of the second half with leg cramps, still ran the offense well. He rushed for 37 yards and had touchdown runs of 6 and 14 yards. He passed for 111 yards, hitting 13-of-15 attempts.
Johnson did a bit of everything. He rushed for a game-high 105 yards and scored a TD. He threw a pass for 51 yards and intercepted a pass on defense.
Coweta's defense helped plenty. In addition to the interceptions by May and Johnson, Caleb Wheeler, Nick Herder and Drew Gonzalez recovered fumbles at key times.
"They fought through adversity," Coweta coach Bubba Burcham said. "The word of the week was 'perseverance,' and we needed it."
Coweta led at halftime 22-20 but lost Johnson to an injured left leg while on defense with 1:35 left in the half.
However, Johnson returned midway through the third quarter and scored a fourth-quarter insurance TD on a 28-yard run.
Pryor scored on the game's first play. Quarterback Keegan Yates hit Carson Smallwood, who was wide open down the middle, for a 68-yard strike. Yates finished with 281 passing yards and two TDs.
Coweta responded on its second possession when Randall Smith scored from the 1-yard line with 6:01 left in the opening quarter.
Pryor scored twice in the second quarter. Smallwood took a 3-yard run to cap a 12-play, 74-yard drive. Smallwood finished with 101 yards on 24 carries.
COWETA 36, PRYOR 27
P: Smallwood 68 pass from Yates (McDowell kick)
C: Smith 1 run (Raspberry pass from Yates)
C: Holmes 6 run (Thomas kick)
P: Smallwood 3 run (pass failed)
C: Holmes 14 run (Thomas kick)
P: Barth 38 pass from Yates (McDowell kick)
C: Smith 7 run (Thomas kick)
P: Smallwood 2 run (McDowell kick)
C: Johnson 28 run (Thomas kick)