The Guthrie Bluejays won their fifth straight season-opening game despite looking sluggish at times, especially early on.
The Jays were able to overcome turnovers and penalties to push past the 6A-II Wildcats inside a warm Sullins Stadium.
Guthrie finished with three first-half turnovers and four overall. Ponca took advantage of the first-half turnovers by converting those into 16 points, including the game’s first 10 points.
Senior wide receiver Tyrin Eaton scored the team’s first point of the season with a 2-yard run to cap off a 78-yard drive in 12 plays.
The Wildcats increased their lead, 16-7, with a 7-yard run with 4:02 left in the half. From there, Ponca City went downhill quickly.
With under two minutes, the Wildcats fumbled at their own 8-yard line and the Jays need two runs by senior Isaiah Hammons, including a 3-yard run to pull within two, 16-14.
On the ensuing drive, Ponca tossed an interception into the hands of Eaton, who returned the ball to the Ponca 15-yard line. One player later, it was Hammons into the endzone.
With two scores in 60 seconds, Guthrie went into the locker room leading for the first time, 21-16.
Quarterback Hayden Calvert scored the lone third-quarter score with a 6-yard run to push the score up 28-16.
Ponca scored one last time with 8:08 left in the game, but on the next drive, Hammons was back in the endzone for the third time of the night on a 21-yard touchdown run.
Hammons finished with 161 yards on 22 carries.
The run-stop defense of the Bluejays, once again, showed why they are one of the best in stopping the run as they held the Wildcats to negative rushing yards on the night and forced three turnovers, including a fumble recovery and an interception from junior Eli Moroney.
The Ponca turnovers resulted in 21 points for the Jays’ offense.
Guthrie will open Jelsma Stadium this week as they host the Class 4A Woodward Boomers. The Jays have won 11 of the past 12 meetings with the Boomers dating back to 2000.
Ticket prices are now on sale online for $8, or $10 at the gate.
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