It was not the start, or first, half Guthrie had drawn up, but a strong second-half performance prevailed the 5A Jays over 4A’s top-ranked Tuttle Tigers in the first ever meeting between the two programs.
The Bluejays were without the services of senior star running back Isaiah Hammons. Junior Jaylen Harper and senior Jackson Walters filled the gap. Now, Class 5A schools will have some extra homework with Harper and Walters in the mix when Hammons returns.
All three phases proved to be big in the state’s top game of the week.
Harper, well-known for his special teams’ highlight runs, rushed for 131 yards on 20 carries to spark the offense. Senior Jaylen Chelf set up the offense’s game-winning drive and the defense, once again, proved themselves to be one of the best.
Last week in a 61-41 win over Noble, the talented sophomore duo of Brady McAdoo and Luke Fallwell combined for 352 rushing yards for Tuttle. However, on Friday, the Tigers managed only 38 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Tuttle’s passing game saw 28 pass attempts with 14 completions but had many dropped passes.
On the opening possession of the game, Tuttle blocked a Bluejay punt for a touchdown, scored on a 12-play drive, and held Guthrie to a lone field goal to go into the locker room with a 14-3 advantage.
And then the second half.
The tone was set early with Guthrie’s defense forcing a Tuttle three-and-out and setting up the Jays offense for a 12-play drive of their own capped off with senior Tyrin Eaton’s 3-yard run.
The Jays took their first lead of the game when senior Hayden Calvert ran in for a score from four yards out to go up 17-14 with 5:02 to play in the third.
Tuttle took the lead back with an 8-play, 45-yard drive to go up 20-17 with 4:32 left in the game.
Chelf returned the kick back 35 yards to the Tuttle 45-yard line.
With runs of 10 and 14 by Harper, Guthrie was quickly to the 21-yard line.
A few plays later, on third and goal from the 2-yard line, offensive coordinator Jason Rice stunned the crowd with a pass play and the duo of Chelf and junior quarterback Hayden Calvert executed the play picture perfect.
Chelf with a shoulder fake to the inside and a roll to the outside matched up perfectly with Calvert’s strong throw to Chelf’s hands with 1:09 left in the game.
Tuttle’s hopes of their own rally fell short on the ensuing kickoff when senior Zach Henry stripped the ball from the return man and fell on the football in front of the Tiger’s sideline to secure the win.
Guthrie finished with 255 rushing yards and 73 passing.
The Jays will enjoy the upcoming bye week before going on the road to Piedmont to begin district play.
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