By CRAIG HALL
Heavener is a team better known for its offense.
But in Friday’s District 2A-6 showdown with LeFlore County rival Spiro, it was the Wolves’ defense that stole the show, forcing five turnovers including an interception in the last minute by Spencer Clubb that preserved the win and clinched Heavener’s first playoff appearance since 2011 in a 24-20 win.
The win improved the Wolves to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in district play and clinched third place in the district going into the regular season finale next week at Antlers.
All this came from a team which did not win a game two years ago and only came away winners twice a season ago in Coach Jeff Broyles’ first year guiding the program.
But in this game between two teams that had been tied for third place, Heavener came away with the first win over the Bulldogs in football since 2015 on a senior night that will be remembered for many years as the win gave the Wolves its most wins in a season since 2004, when Heavener went 9-3 and won a district championship.
Based on Prague’s 29-23 win over Vian, also Friday, the Wolves will play at Vian in the opening round of the playoffs while Spiro, now 5-4, will visit Prague in the opening game of the postseason. The Bulldogs close out the regular season at home next week with Wilburton. Spiro only has a one-game lead over Hugo and Antlers, but the Bulldogs won the head-to-head games.
After a rain late Friday that cooled the temperatures and made it feel like late season football, Heavener got another standout performance by running back P.J. Riddley, who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 128 yards on 26 carries.
But after Heavener was stuffed late in the fourth-and-goal from an inch away for what would have been a clinching touchdown, Spiro mounted a drive that drove deep into the Wolves’ territory.
Then Clubb, whose brother Jackson, had also intercepted a pass earlier, got the pick that finished off the Bulldogs.
Heavener 24, Spiro 20
SHS 0 7 0 13—20
HHS 14 7 3 0—24