By CRAIG HALL
EUFAULA—The final score will show Eufaula 53, Heavener 14.
The Wolves came out on the short end of the scoreboard for the sixth straight time, but the 14 players who represented Heavener on Paul Bell Field Friday night in the 3A-6 opener for both teams will be remembered more for preserving and continuing to fight and play instead of the final score.
After a rash of starters quit this week, Heavener’s already thin roster of 22 shrunk down to 14. This is one of the smallest schools in 3A playing against teams with three or four times more players than the Wolves.
There was, sadly, plenty of room on Heavener’s sideline with only three substitutes available and after the Wolves received the opening kickoff, the unlikely happened.
On the first play, the Wolves’ Caleb Smith, who had four carries on the season for zero yards coming into Friday’s game, found a seam and sped 49 yards to give Heavener a first down at Eufaula’s 10. Three plays later, quarterback Ross McGee scored the first of his three touchdowns from 3-yards out and the Wolves had their first lead of the season, 6-0.
Eufaula bounced back quickly, scoring on its first play and the Ironheads built a 33-6 lead at the half. Eufaula added another score early in the third quarter, but Smith returned a kickoff 43 yards and after two penalties were added on against Eufaula, McGee scored from 7-yards out to narrow the margin to 39-12.
The Ironheads added two more scores before McGee scored on a 43-yard run with 2:39 left for the final 53-18 margin.
In addition to the three touchdowns, McGee, in his first start at quarterback, rushed for 68 yards on 23 carries and also completed 9-11 passes for 60 yards. Smith finished with 53 yards on seven carries.
Freshman Noah Alexander came off the bench to rush for 106 yards on 10 carries and scored a touchdown for the Ironheads.
Nobody on the visitors’ side expected a win on this night for the Wolves. But as the final seconds ticked away, everybody stood and clapped as if Heavener had pulled off a win instead of coming up short on the scoreboard for the 18th straight game.
And while the scoreboard read different, it was a win of sorts for those 14 teenagers who didn’t give up and fought the good fight.
Eufaula improves to 4-2 overall, 1-0 in district play and visits Muldrow next week. Heavener falls to 0-6 and 0-1 and travels to Roland.
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