By CRAIG HALL
HEAVENER—The showdown for the final playoff spot in 2A-6 came down to a short segment in the fourth quarter.
Heavener led 13-12, but Pocola was at the Wolves 10 with time running out. But just when it looked like the final playoff spot was going to Pocola, the Indians fumbled on the Wolves’ 10 and Heavener’s Rogelio Serrano recovered with 2:08 left in the fourth quarter.
On the second play after the turnover, Heavener running back Blake Smittle finally broke free and he took it all the way for an 85-yard touchdown run to put the Wolves ahead, 19-12. Heavener put the game away on the PAT as the Wolves went for the kick, but holder C.J. Farmer had to scramble and as he was being tackled, tossed a pass to Dakotah Cripps for the two-point conversion.
That sealed Heavener’s 21-12 win and sent the Wolves to the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“It feels really good,” said Heavener coach John Thompson. “I was worried early because they had Smittle’s number.
“But we were able to swap out our guys and give them a rest and I think that paid off.”
The winner of Friday night’s game knew they would make the playoffs. And early on, it looked like it would be Pocola as the Indians jumped ahead 12-0 in the first quarter and made it stand up through halftime.
But the second half was pretty much all Heavener. The Wolves will never be confused as a passing team, but it was two big passes that turned the tide in the third quarter.
Quarterback Tyler Hamm hooked up with Shawn Bradley for two touchdown passes to spur the Wolves’ comeback.
The first was a 26-yard pass to Bradley on Heavener’s opening drive of the third quarter. The PAT failed, leaving Pocola ahead, 12-6.
After the Wolves were pinned back at their 4 early in the fourth quarter, Smittle got Heavener some breathing room with an 11-yard run and on the next play, Hamm lobbed a pass to Bradley, who caught the ball in between two defenders, broke free and outran the Indians’ secondary for an 85-yard touchdown pass.
Miguel Alcantar’s kick was good and Heavener had its first lead with 11:14 left.
Pocola got its chance to go ahead after Parker Johnson intercepted a Heavener pass and returned it to the Wolves’ 20. But the Indians fumbled the opportunity away and Heavener got Smittle’s big run to clinch the win.
The Indians were on fire early. They scored on their first offensive play, a 51-yard pass from freshman quarterback Johnny Satterfield to Johnson.
Pocola added another score later in the quarter on a 10-yard pass from Satterfield to Colton Hamm. Both PATs missed, leaving the Indians ahead, 12-0.
The Indians stacked the line hoping to keep Smittle under control, but the Heavener junior finished with 177 yards rushing on 21 carries to give him 1,092 on the season in only nine games.
Hamm only completed the two passes to Bradley for 111 yards and the two scores.
Heavener improves to 4-5 overall and 3-3 in district play and will play at Stroud next week in the first round of the playoffs.
The Indians finish at 4-5 and 1-5.