For one quarter Friday afternoon, the Spearman Lynx showed they could play defense with Idalou in the Class 3A Division II bidistrict round at Happy State Bank Stadium.
When it came to offense, though, it was a different story.
In a game where throwing the ball seemed like a rumor, especially in the second half, Spearman stuck with its ground attack, but it couldn’t yield any points. Idalou, however, broke three big scoring plays in less than three minutes of game action, proving to be all the difference in a 34-0 victory.
Spearman ended the season with a 4-7 record.
The Lynx had a highly respectable game running the ball, gaining 171 yards. Problem was, they didn’t complete a pass, meaning they had to try to win a physical battle with Idalou (7-4), which was a taller order than they could manage.
“We had a real tough time blocking them up front,” Spearman coach Aaron Witten said. “They have some size up there and they have some smaller kids with speed. The problem was they kept two high safeties and we couldn’t get that other safety down in the box and we couldn’t get them to change their look. If they can stay in their base defense, it’s going to be tough for anybody to move the ball against them.”
There wasn’t a lot of offense in the first half, but most of what there was didn’t belong to Spearman. Idalou scored on a bomb with 37 seconds left in the first half for a 14-0 halftime lead.
Spearman struggled to do much of anything offensively in the first half, gaining only 60 yards of total offense, all on the ground. The Lynx were able to contain Idalou in a scoreless first quarter before the Wildcats broke through with Gentry Pounds mainly running the ball on a 55-yard drive, and he cashed in on the end of the drive on a 7-yard run to make it 6-0.
In the final two minutes of the half, Spearman drove down to the Idalou 33-yard line and faced a fourth-and-10. The Lynx opted to go for it, but Cy Davis threw too far over the middle and was intercepted by Kash Koontz, who returned the ball to the Idalou 21.
Idalou extended the lead in the final minute when Kutter Houchin hit a streaking Logan Mennel on a post pattern for a 51-yard touchdown. Houchin hit Lucas Jarnagin on a two-point conversion to make it 14-0.
“Being explosive a big play can change the momentum, and that’s exactly what happened,” Idalou coach Clay White said. “Our backup quarterback throwing a bomb for a score, that was a huge play for us.”
An even bigger play happened to start the second half, when Idalou’s Blake Dyas returned the second half kickoff 97 yards for a score to make it 21-0.
The Lynx looked as if they could make it a game on the ensuing possession, when J.P. Carbajal broke a 48-yard run into Idalou territory. But Spearman lost a fumble on the next play, and on the play after that, Pounds scored on a 60-yard run to make it 27-0 and end the competitive phase of the game.
Carbajal led Spearman with 144 yards on 28 carries. Pounds had a game-high 147 yards on 14 carries.
“We lost a lot of seniors off last year’s team and we had three or four kids who moved off,” Witten said. “At times we had four freshmen and six sophomores on the field. We knew this was going to be tough.”