Richard Stroud

Grove Sun

COLCORD - In one of the biggest games in his school’s history, Colcord quarterback Canaan Sherrell had one of the all-time great performances.

Sherrell accounted for all seven Hornet touchdowns and 360 yards of total offense in leading his team to a 48-36 come-from-behind victory over the Washington Warriors in Friday night’s Class 2A quarterfinal game. With the win, Colcord advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 1998 and will take on the Davis Wolves. Sherrell also had 10 tackles on defense.

“He stepped up huge,” Colcord head coach Bud Simmons said afterward. “Offensively we had to get into a shootout with them. Canaan became explosive running the ball.”

Sherrell, after being held to negative yardage on the ground in the first half, broke loose in the third quarter for touchdown runs of 70 and 67 yards as the Hornets reeled off 28 straight points after trailing 28-20.

But it was his heady play at the end of the first half that may have saved the day for Colcord. Leading 21-14, the Warriors drove the ball to the Hornet 12 before stopping the clock with one second left. Washington kicker Robert Rynes lined up to try a 29-yard field goal before Simmons called consecutive timeouts.

“We called the first timeout to set up the block,” Simmons said. “We called the second one to ice the kicker. We felt good about getting the block.”

What came next changed the course of the game. The low kick was blocked, sending the ball tumbling toward the Colcord sideline at about the 15-yard line. That’s where Sherrell scooped it up and took off the other way.

“Our kids are heady enough to know it’s a live ball,” Simmons said. “The right guy picked it up.”

Sherrell’s touchdown return made the score 21-20 at the half.

It was just the latest example of Sherrell getting the job done in various ways. In the first round blowout of Pawhuska, he had 101 yards on the ground but just 45 in the air as running back Chris Aguilar led the way with 204 yards in the 48-7 win.

In round two at Talihina, it was Sherrell’s arm that saved the day for Colcord. Held to just 11 yards rushing by the Golden Tigers, Sherrell threw for 163, including 59 on the game-winning drive.

In the first half Friday Sherrell’s running game was again bottled up, but the senior kept the Hornets in the game with two long touchdown passes in the first half as he accounted for 243 yards in the air for the game.

Then, trailing 28-20 midway through the third, Sherrell’s two touchdown runs, along with some defensive adjustments by Colcord’s defensive coaches, turned the tide of the game.

“I guess he [Sherrell] got tired of being bottled up,” Simmons said.

The Hornets will take on a powerful Davis team next week in a game in which they’ll be decided underdogs. If the Hornets want to advance to their first state title game in Colcord history, they’ll need another huge game from their do-everything quarterback.