Plainsmen tame Bulldogs, 20-7

Enid's Johnny Villa carries the ball against Westmoore at D. Bruce Selby Stadium in this Oct. 9 file photo. 

EDMOND, Okla. — The Enid Plainsmen (3-3, 1-2) went on the road and defeated Edmond Memorial (0-7, 0-4) Thursday to pick up their first District 6A1-1 win of the season.

The Plainsmen, who have suffered from slow starts on both sides of the ball during a three-game losing streak, again struggled to move the ball on their first two drives of the game. Despite their inability to move the ball, the Plainsmen took shots downfield hoping to catch the Bulldogs secondary off guard, with no luck.

Then, on their third drive of the game, a fumbled screen pass found the Plainsmen offense facing a third and 12 on their own 20-yard line.

Senior quarterback Blake Priest took the snap and rolled left to avoid the rush, but was grabbed by a defensive lineman. With two arms around him, the 6-2 quarterback heaved the ball in the direction of receiver Tykie Andrews who was covered by a defender. Andrews tipped the ball in the air and caught it, before running another 30 yards and being forced out of bounds at the Bulldog 28-yard line.

“We’ve gotta be aggressive,” said Plainsmen head coach Rashaun Woods. “We kind of got dialed-in offensively on kind of what our ceiling is as far as how many plays we need to be able to score so it’s just a numbers deal and it ended up proving to be right. And then in the second half it was just a situation where we were up by three touchdowns and we’re just trying to get out of here with a victory and not make mistakes.”

Andrews’ 52-yard reception seemed to bring some life and a little confidence back to the Enid sideline. The Plainsmen would score two plays later on an 8-yard touchdown catch by Luke Rauh.

The Plainsmen forced a punt on their next defensive possession and were able to find the end zone again after just four offensive plays, this time capped off by an 8-yard touchdown catch by Johnny Villa.

On the ensuing kickoff, Villa’s onside kick attempt was successfully recovered, giving Enid a two-score lead and the ball early in the second quarter. But that’s when the Plainsmen offense began to revert back to the mistakes and miscues that have hurt it in the past.

A holding call stalled the drive at the Bulldog 11-yard line and Enid’s drive ended with a turnover on downs on fourth and 12.

Enid’s offense failed to pick up another first down for the rest of the half, but was able to hold Edmond Memorial scoreless through the first half due to some unforced mistakes by the Bulldogs.

Woods said he felt his team learned a lot about themselves on Thursday.

“We are improved,” Woods said, “We can do some good things when we limit our mistakes. We had some this game but you’re gonna have them every game, but we were able to overcome them and made enough plays to get the victory today.”

Just when it seemed the Bulldogs were starting to get a drive going, they were slowed by a penalty or turnover. On their last drive of the first half, Edmond Memorial made it as far as the Enid 11-yard line with three seconds left on the clock. Having just had a field goal blocked on their previous drive, the Bulldogs tried to throw for the end zone.

The pass was intercepted by senior cornerback John White, near the back of the end zone. White took the interception 104 yards to the house as time expired, giving the Plainsmen a comfortable 20-0 lead at the break.

“That really, really, really put us ahead.” Woods said about the interception by White, “That was a tremendous play by him. He didn’t practice all week because of a hip flexor, but he did everything he needed to do with the trainer. My hat’s off to the training staff and him being prepared and ready to play today.”

Neither offense was able to gain much ground in the third quarter, but the Bulldogs were able to force a fumble on a run by Villa and returned it 30 yards for their only score of the game. Enid carried a 20-7 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Bulldogs had a chance to bring the game within one score midway through the fourth quarter, but they were called for another costly holding penalty that put them behind the sticks. Facing a fourth down and four at the Enid 20-yard line, Carson Riney’s pass across the middle was dropped.

The Plainsmen took over on downs with five minutes remaining in the game, leading 20-7. Enid turned to Villa to bleed out the clock and he did just that, picking up small chunks that were enough to keep the chains moving and keep the Bulldogs offense off the field.

When the Bulldogs got the ball back, Riney threw a pass over the middle that was picked off by the Plainsmen, ending any hope of a comeback and securing Enid’s first district win since 2017 as a member of Class 6A2.

Woods pointed to both the offensive line and the leadership that Priest brought to the offense as a big reason for their success.

“He ran the offense and did what we expected him to do,” he said.”He didn’t make a lot of mistakes on his part and he really led the team today.”

Senior defensive tackle Sean Graves and the rest of the Enid defensive line also had a big game, clogging up running lanes and preventing Riney from having too much time.

The Plainsmen will hope to carry the momentum from Thursday’s win into next week when they travel to Norman next Friday at 7 p.m.

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Masri is a freelance writer for the News & Eagle. 

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