By Glen Miller/Sports Editor
After leaving four other potential scores on the field due to self-inflicted mistakes, El Reno High School's football team stole the loot, that was an apparent win, away from the Poteau Pirates.
El Reno scored two touchdown in the final 1:45 of the fourth quarter to pull out a 20-13 win over the Class 4A powerhouse, which made the state semifinals a year ago.
“There was never any panic in the huddle, we were all in execution mode. We shot ourselves in the foot throughout the rest of the game but came through when we needed to in the last part of the game,” said El Reno quarterback Dorian Plumley.
Down 13-6 and coming off a foiled drive inside the Pirates' 7-yard line with 6:02 left, El Reno's defense forced Poteau into a quick three and out. After a penalty, the Indians got the ball at their own 39-yard line.
Plumley engineered a 7-play, 61-yard drive highlighted in the air by a 15-yard pass to tight end Kolton Hunt and a 6-yarder to wide out Gana Nicholson.
On the ground, Plumley called his own number on a runs of 4, 6 and 7 yards. He then busted of a 23-yard scoring run, making two moves near the line before finding a hole up the middle.
The score with 1:45 to play closed the gap to 13-12, but Layton Hockersmith's point after attempt sailed right of the upright – his second miss of the night.
Poteau recovered El Reno's onside kick at the Pirates 47-yard line. The Indians defense again forced a punt and handed the ball back to the offense with under a minute to play.
Plumley completed a 12-yard pass to Cash Crawford before breaking off a 21-yard run down to the Pirates' 16-yard line. Two plays later he avoided Poteau's pass rush and fired a pass into the coffin-corner of the end zone and into the hands of Hunt with six seconds left.
“We went to a play trying to get the safety to bite down and that would free up Kolton on the wheel route. That's what happened when I faked the speed out, the safety bit and Kolton went over the top.
“I was able to throw the fade to him and complete it for a touchdown. I knew it when I threw it. Kolton is such a big guy that I know he is going to find a way to get the ball. I just have to throw it up and let him go get it,” said Plumley.
Hunt said he was a little shocked when he heard the play called.
“They called that play and they never call it to me so I was a little confused for a second, but I knew that I could get the ball over the guy that was defending me.
“When I ran the wheel, Gana got a good block on the corner back and that got me open. I went up and high pointed the ball like we are taught,” said Hunt.
Hunt said he never doubted he could catch the pass.
“When the ball was in the air it got caught up in the lights for a couple of seconds but I knew I had it. I saw it in the lights and nothing was going to stop me from getting that ball,” said Hunt.
Plumley then threw a 2-point conversion pass to Brayden Girard to make it a 20-13 game.
“Lucky enough I was able to get away from the defender trying to tackle me and I saw Brayden coming across on the backside with the drag and I was able to get the ball to him,” said Plumley.
Poteau had one last play but Kagan Stockton was forced out of the pocked by Hockersmith and his pass over the middle was picked off by Plumley and returned 30 yards.
El Reno closed the game with 354 yards of total offense with Plumley rushing 24 times for 153 yards and a touchdown. Mikey Devereaux added 10 yards on three carries and Kord LaFoe six yards on three rushes.
Plumley was 18-of-30 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Nicholson caught three passes for 40 yards including a 30-yard touchdown pass. Hunt grabbed seven passes for 84 yards and the game-winning score.
Crawford had six catches for 45 yards, while LaFoe had a 13-yard grab.
El Reno's defense held Poteau to 229 yards of offense with 181 of those on the ground. Eighty of those came on a touchdown run by Jeffrey Martin. Stockton had the other Pirates' score on a 1-yard keeper with 9:15 left in the fourth period.