By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Seth Handley rushed for 336 yards, Chance Pryor rushed for four touchdowns and Raeshaan Finley added a career-high 104 yards as the Enid Plainsmen used a punishing ground attack in taking out the frustration of a six-game losing streak on Stillwater 49-21 Friday night at D. Bruce Selby Stadium on Senior Night.
“This was an exciting win,” said Handley, whose 336 yards rushing Friday night rank second all-time for rushing yards in a single game, behind only his record-setting 377-yard performance last season against Bixby. He also now ranks fourth in all-time career rushing yards.
Handley deflected most of the credit toward his teammates: “My wide receivers blocked and my linemen opened up the holes. This (the win) feels so good, I’m so happy. All of the guys did a good job tonight.”
Enid (3-6, 1-5) rushed for a season-high 469 yards, averaging an impressive 8.2 yards per attempt in swarming the Stillwater (3-6, 1-5) defense in picking up its first district win of the season.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Enid head coach Steve Chard. “We’ve had a rough few weeks. I would have given almost anything to get this win. This was a great night. Sure, we’re frustrated we’re not in the playoff hunt, but the players and coaches never quit working.”
Like Handley, Chard also acknowledged the play of Enid’s offensive line in the victory.
“The O-Line was great tonight,” Chard said. “All five of those guys were tremendous, and Colton Herrell blocked their big lineman (Jonah Motley) a bunch and stalemated him.”
The Plainsmen also played nearly error-free with no turnovers, while coming up with three takeaways, including an interception and fumble recovery by Aaron Beagle, as well as a forced fumble and fumble recovery from linebacker Isiah Singleton.
“We just worked together,” said Singleton.
The Plainsmen got on the scoreboard first, driving 95 yards on their second possession, all on the ground. Handley accounted for all but 11 yards on the drive, reeling off big gainers of 14 and 17 yards from a full-house formation and finished off the drive with a 35-yard touchdown run that put Enid up 6-0. The only negative on the drive was a missed extra point, Enid’s first missed PAT after converting on 11 straight coming into the game.
Stillwater, after going three and out on its first two possessions, resorted to a bit of deception to get on the scoreboard for its only touchdown of the first half. Sophomore quarterback Taggart Brown pitched the ball to Chuck Neil, who then pitched to King Williams, who pulled up and found Spencer Parsons for a seven-yard touchdown pass. The extra point capped a 63-yard drive that put Stillwater up 7-6 late in the first quarter.
The Plainsmen would respond with a pair of scoring drives on their next two possessions, driving 94 yards immediately following the Pioneers’ score, doing most of their damage on the ground until Pryor connected with f Finley for a 14-yard reception to the Pioneers’ 22-yard line, catching Stillwater on a blitz. An 11-yard Pryor scramble followed with Handley then carrying 10 yards to the one-yard line, where Pryor finished off the drive on a keeper. Enid added two points when Steven Hocker caught a pass from Pryor, putting Enid up 14-7.
Stillwater drove into Enid territory on its next possession, but Ty Smith fumbled and the ball was recovered by Singleton at the Enid 23-yard line. Again, Handley did most of the damage, taking advantage of solid blocking with Jake Scott acting as lead blocker from a full house backfield. After driving to the 1-yard line, Pryor recorded his second rushing touchdown as Enid went up 21-7 late in the second quarter.
The Plainsmen recorded their second takeaway of the first half after a 70-yard kickoff return by Brandon Prater to the Enid 20. Aaron Beagle picked off Brown as the half drew to a close with Enid up 21-7.
Enid went up 28-7, needing only one play from scrimmage on its opening possession of the second half as Handley raced 80 yards into the end zone.
Stillwater would answer when King Williams, operating out of the Wildcat, raced 31 yards into the end zone to make it 28-14. But a pair of Pryor 1-yard touchdown runs that capped drives of 55 and 56 yards would extend Enid’s lead to 42-14.
“This is a great feeling,” said Pryor. “I didn’t get my first goal of making the playoffs (this season) but this was a great win. The O-line really stepped up tonight.”
Pryor, who finished the game 8-of-11 for 64 yards passing, connected with Beagle on 26-yard pass play out of a full house backfield that led to Enid’s fifth touchdown that also featured Handley rushing for 28 yards on the drive. The Plainsmen’s sixth touchdown came after Beagle recovered a fumble by Stillwater’s Smith at Enid’s 44-yard line caused by Singleton.
“He (Smith) turned back into me after Jake Scott forced him in my direction,” Singleton said.
“I just saw it laying on the ground and picked it up,” Beagle said.
“You know, it was great that it was Beagle (who came up with two turnovers),” Chard said. “He does so many things for us. His (first half) interception kept a 14-point cushion for us going into halftime.”
Stillwater’s Williams would add another touchdown to make it 42-21 on an 18-yard run. Enid would close out the scoring with an impressive 80-yard drive in which Finley accounted for all 80 yards, including a 2-yard rushing touchdown, in securing his first career 100-yard game.
“The line just blocked really good,” said Finley. “I just stepped up. I just went out there and did my thing. I knew I could score, I just had to show everybody else I could score.”
The game had a scary moment early in the second half when Stillwater’s Will Fowler left the game on a stretcher. His condition was unknown after the game.
But the night belonged to the Plainsmen on this Senior Night.
“I’m real happy for the kids,” Chard said. “The coaches and players stayed the course, and for once we got a break or two and we did what good teams do and took advantage of it.”
Enid travels to Sand Springs Nov. 2 to close out the season.