David Reeder

COLCORD-Things started well enough for Colcord Friday night at Hornet Stadium against the rated Tahlequah-Sequoyah Indians.

But a dicey second quarter that included three touchdown drives by the visitors was more than enough to hold off the Hornet upset attempt.

The Indians received the opening kickoff and picked up three first downs while crossing the midfield stripe.

And it looked as if things might be going Colcord’s way when Chris Aguilar jarred the ball loose from Sequoyah’s Justin Lepley. Ethan Shelley covered the fumble, where the Hornets started their first offensive series on their own 25.

After losing nine yards on their initial snap Colcord was forced to go three and out, punting the ball away.

On the Tribe’s opening play of their second possession the game’s leading rusher Ryker Salazar (24 carries for 195 yards) broke off a 65 yard scamper for what appeared to be a touchdown. But the play was called back on the first of the Indians’ 13 penalties on the night.

Five plays later, however, Tahlequah’s Ryan Mouse put his team on the scoreboard with a 16-yard scoring run. Chris Littlehead added the first of his perfect 5 of 5 extra points to give the visitor’s a 7-0 lead.

But the Hornets put a scare in their guests, when Colcord QB Canaan Sherrell broke off huge 70 yard touchdown run on the very next snap. Aguilar’s extra point kick knotted the affair at 7 each.

The game seemed it might turn into a track meet when Salazar tore off a 40 yard run, to the Hornet 18. And four plays later, on the opening snap of the second stanza, Salazar put his team back on top with a six yard scoring run.

Colcord’s next possession was thwarted by the Indian’s DB Keanu Poe who intercepted Sherrell’s pass attempt to Dakota Place, on the Hornet 29.

On the fourth snap of the series, Mouse scored his second TD of the game, this time from 20 yards away.

Littlehead’s subsequent kickoff pinned the Hornets deep in their own territory. Unable to move the sticks, Colcord went into punt formation. A well conceived but poorly executed fake punt attempt gave Tahlequah-Sequoyah the football inside the Hornet five.

And on the third snap of the drive, Salazar scored again, giving his team a 28-7 halftime lead.

Thanks to two more penalty flags and a 27-yard Sherrell to Caleb Backwater reception, Colcord managed to pick up three first downs to start the second half.

But after crossing into enemy territory, the Hornet drive fizzled and they relinquished the ball on downs.

Give credit to the Colcord defense who, despite being backed up to their 26, held the Indians out of the end zone and got the ball back on downs as well.

But on the third play of the subsequent possession, Sequoyah picked up its third interception of the game.

Again the Hornet ‘black shirts’ overcame the onerous circumstances and kept the Indians out of the end zone, bringing the third to a scoreless conclusion.

Colcord had to punt the ball away on their first drive of the fourth.

Sequoyah took control on their own 35 and used a 17 yard Salazar run to get inside the Hornet 40. And with 8:15 to play in the game, Tahlequah’s Lepley rumbled 38 yards for the game’s final score.

The Hornets fumbled on their next drive, allowing the Indians’ to burn most of the fourth quarter clock on the way to the 35-7 win.

In spite of the 28-point loss, the Hornets move into the playoffs, traveling to Verdigris in the hope of avenging a September defeat handed them by the Cardinals.