By Chuck Reherman
There are losses, hard to take losses and heartbreaking losses.
Thursday night was one of those hard to take heartbreaking losses.
Westmoore rallied from a 35-14 deficit behind seven touchdown passes from quarterback Dayton Wolf, the last coming with 22 seconds remaining and the Jaguars broke the Millers hearts, 50-49, in a critical District 6AI-1 game at Miller Stadium.
It was a win the Millers, 2-5, needed to keep in the middle of the district race. YHS dropped to 1-3 in the district and puts them in a win out situation to keep a chance alive for the playoffs. Westmoore, 6-1, pushed themselves into a four-way tie for first in the district with the help of Edmond Santa Fe’s 23-21 upset of No. 1 ranked Broken Arrow.
It was the second year in a row that Westmoore had rallied from at least two touchdowns down to hand the Millers a loss. YHS led Westmoore 14-0 last year and fell to the Jags 35-14.
The Millers opened a two touchdown lead in the second quarter and even led by three scores, 35-14, before the Jaguars rallied to make it 35-28 at halftime. YHS lead by two touchdowns again in the third quarter before WHS put another rally together.
“The coaches and players are crushed, heartbroken,” Miller head coach Jeremy Reed said. “Crushed and heartbroken.
“We let them complete third and fourth long passes, we had opportunities to get them off the field and just couldn’t get it done,” he said. “To me that’s kind of where it came down to. Offense punted once in the second half and we shouldn’t have punted. We should have sustained the drive and went and scored. You have to score every time, that is the goal.
“We knew coming in that their offense was really good, really strong, I wasn’t surprised at what they were able to do offensively.”
The Millers, with the game tied 42-42, regained the lead with 4:57 remaining in the game as Brayden Dutton scored on a one-yard quarter sneak. YHS drove 80 yards in 12 plays for the go ahead score. Makari Slaughter started the drive with a 20-yard run to the 40 and Dutton completed a 20-yard pass to Colton DeKinder to the Westmoore 34. A 17-yard run by Landon Donoho moved the ball to the 17 and Dutton scored three plays later.
Wolf guided the Jaguars on a 13-play, 78-yard drive for the eventual go ahead score.
Yukon had a chance to force a turnover on downs and put the game away with Westmoore facing a fourth and 18 from their own 12-yard line. Wolf lofted a hail-mary type pass that Dylen Taylor came down with at the WHS 46-yard line for a first down.
Wolf completed six passes in the drive, including Wolf connecting with Andrew Metcalf in the back on the end zone on fourth down from the five-yard line to make it a 49-48 game with 22 seconds remaining.
Westmoore elected to go for the two-point conversion and the win. YHS called two-time outs to help re-set the defense. But Wolf found Zane Chavez in the end zone for the conversion and a 50-49 lead.
The Millers did get one last chance, but only reached their own 33 before time ran out.
“I told our whole staff if they scored on that drive, they would go for two because they couldn’t stop us,” Reed said. “They know it. We tried to give our defense the best opportunity to see what was coming.
“They tipped their hand with a formation and we took a time out,” he said. “I saw them motion so I took another time out so we could adjust to that and didn’t force them to change their formation and play and it ended not the way we desired.”
The game opened with a wild start that saw four scores put on the board just a little over halfway into the first quarter. And the Millers scored three more times in just seven minutes of the second quarter that opened a 35-14 lead.
YHS’ defense had stopped Westmoore on the opening possession of the game with a three and out.
Caden Hernandez broke a 47-yard touchdown run on the Millers’ first play of the game. It was the third 40 plus yard touchdown run by Hernandez in the last two games.
Westmoore tied the game on Wolf’s first TD pass, a seven-yard score to JaQuan Richardson 1:15 later to tie the game.
Donoho put the Millers back on top with a 62-yard touchdown run on the Millers’ fourth play to regain the lead, 14-7. Donoho finished the night with a season high 219 yards on 23 carries.
With the game tied 14-14, The Millers took the lead with a 23-yard touchdown run by Donoho and added a 26-yard Dutton to Hernandez touchdown pass and a five-yard Makari Slaughter run to open a 35-14 lead.
Wolf brought the Jags to 35-28 at the half after completing touchdown passes of eight yards to Richardson and 11 to Taylor.
“We were trying the second half to use the whole play clock and assist our defense,” Reed said. “We did the best we could. When you play these explosive offenses, this is what can happen. We were up 35-14 in the first half and watching that disappear hurt.
“There are a lot of things to point to, right now it is just a little bit unbelievable,” he said.
The Millers did push their lead back to two scores on the opening possession of the third quarter as Hernandez scored on a 20-yard run. Westmoore scored on their first possession as Wolf connected with Taylor on a two-yard touchdown pass and tied the game early in the fourth when Wolf tossed a 53-yard score to Andrew Metcalf.
The Millers finished the first half with 305 yards rushing an 331 total. YHS ran for 462 yards on 54 carries and finished the game with 514 yards of offense. Westmoore had 431 yards of offense, 369 through the air as Wolf completed 22 of 37 passes.
Hernandez also rushed for over 100 yards in the game, gaining 113 on 14 carries. Camron Farmer ran for 58 yards on 10 carries and Slaughter had 53 on nine.
“This one is going to sting for a while,” Reed said. “The kids played hard, did the very best they could and ultimately didn’t make plays when you needed to make a play to win a ball game. This one is gonna a hurt for a while.
“I’m glad it is Thursday and we have an extra day, because we are gonna need Friday and Saturday to get rid of this and come back Sunday ready to work for Broken Arrow,” he said. “This loss hurt us, I have never been part of a 50-49 game. But anything can happen and we need to continue to work hard and get ready for our next opponent.”