By Dave Ruthenberg, Sports Editor
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Guthrie scored three unanswered second-half touchdowns to break open a close contest to defeat Enid 36-16 Friday at D. Bruce Selby Stadium in the Plainsmen’s home opener. The Bluejays, the top-ranked team in Class 5A, improved to 3-0 with the win as Enid fell to 1-2.
Enid gave the Bluejays all they could handle in the early going, taking a 10-0 lead and maintained a 10-8 advantage at halftime before Guthrie started rolling behind senior tailback Kai Callins, who rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns and picked off two passes.
“Kai Callins is as advertised,” said Enid head coach Steve Chard after the game. “I don’t know if we’ll ever face someone that’s that versatile and multi-dimensional. He’s a darn good player.”
Callins was kept off the scoreboard until Guthrie’s only scoring drive of the first-half, when he scored on an 18-yard run that capped a 38-yard drive. Guthrie’s two-point conversion cut the Plainsmen lead to 10-8.
But field position would play a significant role in the contest as Guthrie started several drives in Enid territory, while the Plainsmen started all but one drive from their own 20-yard line.
“That was a huge difference in what was otherwise an evenly matched game,” Chard said. “Their kicker is amazing, he kicks everything into the end zone and that’s a great weapon.”
The Plainsmen and Bluejays battled to a near draw in yardage with Enid outgaining Guthrie 319-317 yards, but the Bluejays dominated the second half, outgaining Enid 227-112 yards.
In the early going, Enid took advantage of two Guthrie first-half turnovers as the Plainsmen repeatedly stiffened in their zone as the Bluejays were unable to take advantage of favorable field position until Callins’ late second quarter score.
The Plainsmen went up 3-0 on a Mason Camp 20-yard field goal after the Plainsmen recovered a fumbled off a Kaleb Harris sack of Bluejays quarterback Reed Roberts at the Enid 13-yard line. The Bluejays had started their opening drive at the Enid 42.
The talk entering the game centered on Callins, but the first big offensive play of the game was turned in by Enid junior tailback Raheem Mitchell, whose 40 yard run on a toss sweep to the Guthrie 29-yard line put Enid in scoring position.
Quarterback Freddy Lawrence then scrambled 21 yards to the Guthrie 3-yard line. Enid was unable to gain any more yards and settled for the Camp field goal. Mitchell, though, would be contained the rest of the game and finished with 48 yards rushing
Enid went up 10-0 after recovering a Callins fumble at the Big Blue 31-yard line. The Plainsmen drove 69 yards, keyed by a 17-yard pass to Aaron Beagle and Lawrence’s 12-yard gain on a draw that put Enid at the Guthrie 33-yard line. After a holding penalty against Enid, Lawrence found a streaking, wide open Marshawn Mills for a 41-yard gain to the 2-yard line and Mitchell took it in from the 2-yard line as Enid made it 10-0.
Earlier in the half, Callins came up with an interception in Enid territory, but a Steven Hocker sack ended that threat.
The Plainsmen had a chance to add to their first half lead but the Guthrie defensive line sacked Lawrence twice and Enid nursed a 10-8 lead at the half.
Guthrie would take its first lead of the game on its first possession of the second half after a short six-yard punt by Enid set Guthrie up at the Plainsmen 40-yard line. Guthrie marched methodically downfield on the ground, scoring on a 1-yard Idae Alexander run to go up 15-10 after Callins had rushed for 23 yards on the drive.
EHS immediately responded on its next possession when Lawrence threw his first career touchdown pass, on a screen to Mitchell that caught Guthrie in a blitz. Mitchell then broke two tackles and raced 80 yards into the end zone. Enid failed on a two-point attempt but held a 16-15 lead.
“That was a great call,” Chard said.
But the size of the Guthrie offensive line would take over the rest of the way as the Bluejays responded with a 58-yard drive as Roberts completed his first pass of the game, a 14-yard touchdown to to L’liott Curry.
Guthrie would push across the end zone twice more in the fourth quarter using a strong rushing attack, driving 67 yards on 11 plays, capped by an Alexander 6-yard touchdown run on a drive that saw the Bluejays picking up six, seven yards at a time, mostly by Callins.
After Enid fell behind 29-16, the Plainsmen were stymied on their next possession when Lawrence was picked off by Callins who returned the ball to the 2-yard line for a 34-yard return. But a block in the back call brought the ball back to the 36-yard line. Guthrie. though, continued its domination at the line of scrimmage and marched into the end zone with Callins sccoring from seven yards to make the final margin 36-16.
“We just had a hard time blocking them once they got ahead,” Chard said. “We just ran out of gas.”
Lawrence was 16-of-27 for 248 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
“Fred played great,” Chard said. “That late pick made the difference in a score that’s not quite indicative of the game.”
The Plainsmen were without wide receiver/defensive back Alex Lofton who was held out with a sprained ankle. Chard said Lofton was 75-80 percent, but decided to hold Lofton out for next week’s district opener at home against Bartlesville.
“You have to think in the long haul and we need Alex worse next week,’’ Chard said.
Chard said the team is ready to begin district play.
“Our confidence is fine. We have a huge game next week (at home against Bartlesville) and that’s the one that really counts toward our playoff aspirations. We were well-prepared. I feel good.”