By Chuck Reherman, Sports Editor – Southwest Covenant made school history Friday night.
First the team hosted a first round playoff game for the first time evert.
The Patriots topped it off by winning their first ever playoff game. And, SWCS won in impressive fashion.
Southwest Covenant scored three times in the opening quarter and rode he arm of Sam Webb to a 59-14 win over Sharon-Mutual in a Class C playoff game at Patriot Field.
The Patriots, 9-2, will now travel to No. 1 ranked Pond Creek-Hunter in a quarterfinal round on Friday Pond Creek-Hunter routed Thackerville 48-0 and enters the game with an 11-0 record.
It was a game that was expected to be an even match. Both teams averaged scoring in the mid-40s and allowed in the low 20s on scoring defense.
But, it was all Southwest Covenant from the opening kickoff. The Patriots drove 65 yards on their opening possession, scored the first three times they had the ball and held a 26-8 lead at the intermission.
“We got that first ever playoff win, that was exciting,” SWCS head coach Trey Cloud said. “We set the tone, defensively, I told the guys our defensive line won the game for us.
“If was just being physical with them,” he said. “They are a big team, they are probably the best offensive line, besides Tipton, that we have seen all year. It was a challenge for our group and the stepped up.”
The Patriots held the Trojan offense to 230 yards of offense. Sharon-Mutual had come into the game averaging 45 points and over 400 yards a game on offense, with more than 300 rushing. SWCS held the Trojans to 84 yards rushing and 107 of that coming in their two touchdown runs.
“Our defense played really well, we kept the intensity up the whole time,” Cloud said. “I was pleased. “We knew they were mostly a run team and if we could control their running game, we could slow down their offense.”
The Patriots expected it to be a challenge, but the team tool control of the game early and finished with 426 yards of offense, 261 of that through the air on 12 of 21 passing from Sam Webb, who threw for four touchdowns. Cole Shaw caught five of those passes for 143 yards and four touchdowns.
“When you go into a game like this, you never know what to expect,” Cloud said. “We knew we could throw the ball on the them, they didn’t see that much passing from other teams they played and we felt we could have success against them. We had hoped we could get out and score quickly.
“I felt we should win the game, but you never know in a football game,” he said. “We had to come out and be physical and if we weren’t, it could have been a two-point game. Or, it could have gone the other way if we didn’t set the tone. Sam made some good throws and without that if would have been a different game. He just opened the field up for us.”
Webb played the key role in putting the Patriots in front early. He broke a 26-yard run on the second play of the game to the Sharon-Mutual 39-yard line, then completed passes of nine-yards to Trevor Kelly and 18 to Tyler Kelly to the Trojan 14-yard line.
Two plays later (after an 11-yard Trevor Kelly run), Nathan Hagan bolted into the end zone for a touchdown.
After the defense stopped SMHS in three plays, Webb and the Patriots went back after it. Webb completed a 20-yard pass to Shaw on a first down play and two plays later tossed a 36-yard scoring pass to Shaw to open a 13-0 lead.
Sharon-Mutual did make it a 13-8 game when Alex Carter broke a 66-yard scoring run. Carter had rushed for 200 yards on 23 carries. The rest of the team had a minus 17-yards rushing.
Southwest Covenant added a third touchdown on their third possession of the night on a 31-yard end around play by Tyler Kelly. The score capped a 65-yard drive that was highlighted by a 37-yard Webb pass to Bryce Brown, opening a 20-8 lead.
The Patriots opened a three score lead midway in the second quarter on a seven-yard scoring pass to Hagan. Trevor Kelly had set up the score with consecutive 16 and 20 yards runs. On the scoring play, the snap to Webb was low, he bobbled the ball, scooped it up, took three steps to his left, then threw the jump pass to Hagan for the score.
Southwest Covenant added another score in the final minute of the half when Webb tossed a two-yard scoring pass to Hagan. The score was set up on a 20-yard Shaw punt return and an 18-yard Webb to Shaw pass. Hagan’s score came with 41 seconds left in the half.
Sharon-Mutual tried to turn it back into a game early in the second half. Carter, on a quarterback draw, broke a 41-yardscoring run three plays into the second half to cut the lead to 32-14.
The Patriots answered quickly on a four-yard Trevor Kelly touchdown run to open a 40-14 lead. Webb passed 34-yards to Shaw on first down to set up the score.
Brown recovered a Carter fumble two plays later. Webb passed to Brown for a four-yard score and a 46-14 lead with 7:51 left in the third.
The Patriots scored again just over a minute later after Carter lows a second fumble. Webb’s 26-yard scoring pass to Shaw made it a 53-14 lead.
Southwest Covenant ended the game on the mercy rule on their next possession on a nine-yard run by Webb. Kelly started the drive with a 12-yard run, Webb passed 14 yards to Shaw, Hagan had a 15-yard run and Webb scored on the next play with 3:24 left in the third quarter.
“It was exciting to have that home playoff game here, it was the first time ever and it was fun for the kids,” Cloud said. “We told the kids to play within their responsibility and that is what they did.
“It is exciting to get a chance to play in the next round,” he added. “We know we have a challenge ahead of us, but these guys are excited about the opportunity and ready to take on that challenge.”