EDMOND, Okla. —
Enid tailback Raheem Mitchell heard all the talk about Edmond Memorial’s talented junior tailback, Warren Wand, and took going up against him as a personal challenge.
Mitchell and the Plainsmen came out on the winning side of that battle as EHS (1-1) recorded its first win of the season in a 32-27 victory over the Bulldogs (1-1) Friday night at University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium.
Mitchell, a junior, finished with 131 yards and a touchdown, outgaining Wand, who was held to 98 yards, including only six yards in the first half. Enid opened up a 19-0 halftime lead and then withstood a late Memorial rally to secure the win.
“I just felt it was tailback on tailback,” Mitchell said. “He’s the leading rusher and I want to be the leading rusher. I think I won that one. It feels really good to win, and do it the way we did.”
“Nothing is easy on the road,” said a happy Enid head coach Steve Chard after the game. “It was a much-earned win. We earned that win.”
But it didn’t come easy, despite a hot start to the game that saw Enid dominate the Bulldogs, including outgaining them 280-22 yards in the first half, and having 13 first downs to Memorial’s two. The Plainsmen accumulated 366 yards of offense in the contest to 306 for the Bulldogs.
While Wand was held in check in the first half, he made his presence known early in the third quarter as Memorial cut the lead down to 19-7 on his three-yard touchdown run as he accounted for 58 of the Bulldogs’ yards in their 87-yard scoring drive.
But on a night when Enid was able to overcome some turnovers and come up with a few crucial turnovers of its own, the Plainsmen responded right back when Jesse Cartwright’s diving interception at the Bulldogs’ 40-yard line turned the tide back in Enid’s favor and opened the door for another Enid running back.
Sophomore Devin Pratt was pressed into backfield duty when Mitchell went out with cramps. All Pratt did was carry the ball on all seven plays and tallied all 40 yards, ending with a 10-yard touchdown run that put Enid up 26-7.
“What a stud,” Chard said regarding Pratt’s performance. “He came in after playing every snap at safety.’’
Memorial kept the heat on the Plainsmen, however, with two consecutive scoring drives as Wand scored on a 15-yard run and Waylan Anderson scored on a 45-yard screen pass that narrowed Enid’s lead to 26-20 with 6:01 remaining in the game.
The Bulldogs, after stopping Enid, were in position for a potential game-winning drive until senior Aaron Beagle picked off Bulldogs quarterback Mick Mayerske at the Memorial 25-yard line for a pick-six that put Enid up 32-20 and proved to be the game-winner.
“What a great redemption shot (for Beagle),” Chard said.
The senior had uncharacteristically dropped a couple of passes earlier in the game.
“He didn’t have the best night, but he didn’t drop that pick six and that iced the game for us,’’ Chard said.
Memorial mounted one last scoring drive and scored as Anderson caught an 8-yard pass from Mayerske after Pratt was called for a very-questionable pass interference penalty on fourth down that kept the drive alive.
An onside kick went out of bounds and Enid secured the 32-27 win.
“We bowed up and stopped them just enough,” Chard said. “The team that deserved to win, won it tonight.”
It was a fitting end on a night that started out on a good note for the Plainsmen.
Enid got on the board first after forcing a turnover on the second play of the Bulldogs’ first possession when Pratt picked off a deflected pass from Mayerske and Enid set up at Memorial’s 31-yard line. The Plainsmen settled for a 31-yard field goal from Mason Camp, his first of the season, to take a 3-0 lead.
Enid appeared to be on its way to scoring on its next possession when Lawrence found Marshawn Mills for a 51-yard pass, but Mills fumbled into the end zone and Memorial recovered for a touchback.
The Plainsmen stopped themselves again later after driving deep into Memorial territory, when the Bulldogs picked off Lawrence at the Memorial 1-yard line. But unlike last week against Choctaw, the Plainsmen were able to overcome their miscues and actually turned the miscue into its advantage.
After Enid forced a three-and-out, Memorial was forced to punt, but the snap sailed out of the end zone and Enid went up 5-0 early in the second quarter.
The Plainsmen scored on their next possession after the free kick, going 85 yards on seven plays with Mitchell streaking up the middle for a 36-yard touchdown to go up 12-0.
“I saw the block, cut out and did a little move and took it to the house,” Mitchell said.
Enid repeatedly stymied Memorial throughout the first half, completely shutting down Wand and company. The Plainsmen put six points on the board with six seconds remaining as Lawrence capped a clock-chewing 13-play, 62-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on a keeper on 4th-and-1, following a 14-yard pass to Alex Lofton on 3rd-and-13 to the Memorial five-yard line that kept the drive alive as Enid went up 19-0 at halftime.
Lawrence, who finished the game 12-of-23 for 159 yards, said he is getting more comfortable after making his second career start.
“It’s getting a lot easier to make the reads than it was last week,” he said. “I’m feeling way more comfortable.”
Enid will finally have its home opener when the Plainsmen welcome Guthrie next Friday.