Jays shut out Elgin to advance to second-round of the playoffs

The Guthrie Bluejays run out onto the field in Elgin for the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Photo courtesy of Kaia Calvert. For photos visit https://kaiacalvert.smugmug.com/

Guthrie’s defensive performance was about as dominating as you could have drawn up for the first round of the Class 5A football playoffs.

For the fourth straight time in the playoffs, Guthrie won the first-round game to advance to the second round. Now, the Jays look to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 2013.

The Bluejays held Elgin to negative yards in the second half on their way to a 17-0 road victory. The Owls entered the game with a successful run game that helped them to an 8-2 season record and host a first-round game for the first time since 2010.

However, Guthrie brought their tradition, experience, and defense.

Elgin’s offense had nine opportunities at the Guthrie defense, including only three possessions in the second half, and could only generate 62 yards of total offense.

Linebackers Landen Hirzel and Josh Varnell led the way with 24 combined tackles.

All nine of the Owls’ possessions ended in punts.

For the Jays’ offense, they showed multiple formations with multiple players in the backfield.

On their first drive, they used 12 plays in just over five minutes to secure a 29-yard field goal from Noah French to give them a 3-0 lead with 4:24 left in the first half.

Turns out that would also be the halftime score.

On the opening drive in the second half, the Jays went on a 10-play drive for their first touchdown.

With a bulk of the yards coming from Isaiah Hammons, Jaylen Harper, and Hayden Calvert on the ground, it was the passing game that hit paydirt.

On second and goal from the 15-yard line, Calvert hit senior wide receiver Jaylen Chelf at the 5-yard line, but Chelf would not be denied as he fought off three Owls to reach the goal line. The score boosted the Jays up 10-0.

The final score to secure the third straight win came on the legs of Harper who dashed in from 5-yards out to cap off another 10-play drive with 9:30 left in the game.

The Jays rushed 64 times for 268 yards. Harper led the way with 165 yards.

The Guthrie defense has shut out their last three opponents and has not allowed five opponents to score this season.

The defense will be highly challenged this week as they travel to Grove and face talented senior running back Emmanuel Crawford, who has rushed for over 6,000 yards in his career.

Crawford has helped the Ridgerunners to a perfect 11-0 season mark, including Friday night’s 70-28 playoff win over Sapulpa.

The contest, scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. in Grove, will be the first-ever meeting between the two GHS schools on the gridiron. The winner advances to the semifinals against the winner between Carl Albert and Del City.

District 5A-2 goes undefeated against 5A-1

Not only did the four teams from 5A-2 win all four games but proved to be dominant. Now when all four 5A quarterfinal games take place this week they will feature all four 5A-2 teams.

District champion Carl Albert had zero issues with Lawton MacArthur winning a 45-7 home win.

Bishop McGuinness nearly doubled up El Reno, 46-24, on their home field.

Piedmont, along with Guthrie, went on the road for playoff victories.

Piedmont poured on 60 points as they took down 5A-1 district champion Midwest City, 60-41 in the snow.

The second round quickly upgrades in opponents for the district foes as Carl Albert hosts Del City, McGuinness goes on the road to top-ranked and undefeated Coweta, Piedmont travels to McAlester while the Jays travel to Grove.


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