Rains Leads Guthrie Bluejays to Shootout Win Against Lawton MacArthur 42-39
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Rains Leads Guthrie Bluejays to Shootout Win Against Lawton MacArthur 42-39 

LAWTON, Okla. – The Guthrie Bluejays are going to have to be road warriors for the Class 5A football playoffs and if last Friday nights 42-39 win in Lawton is any indication of what is to come, it could be an exciting postseason.

The Lawton MacArthur Highlanders tried to be tricky on the opening kickoff, and it backfired right into a 70-yard return by Jaylen Chelf and a Guthrie 7-0 lead ten seconds into the game.

The Bluejays would make it 14-0 with eight minutes to go in the first quarter when freshman Hayden Calvert threw a strike to senior Kaiden Ballard-Stevenson on a 47-yard pass play.

The Highlanders received the ball and drove 66 yards aided by two Guthrie personal foul penalties and Nasir Kemper; a North Texas football commit, who almost pulled the game out for the Highlanders and scored from three yards out. The PAT kick was blocked, and it was 14-6.

The Bluejays got the first of their two key turnovers on an interception by Stevenson at the 29-yard line as the Highlanders were driving. The Bluejays had to punt, and senior Josh Rains boomed one 62 yards, pinning MacArthur on the six-yard line.

The Bluejays would get the score to 21-6 on a 20-yard Rains pass to Tyrin Eaton at the 7:06 mark. Both teams were pooch kicking all night, and Kemper scored from nine yards out to make it 21-12 with 2:20 to go before the half. Guthrie returned the favor, and Rains scored from seven yards out with just 37-seconds left before halftime and it was 28-12 and the home team was shocked.

The Highlanders got the ball to start the third quarter and marched it down the field, where Montez Edwards and Gage Graham would hook up on the first of two third quarter touchdown passes to make the score 28-18. The Highlanders went for two and missed, making that three scores without the extra points. The Bluejays responded at 5:23 on another Ballard-Stevenson touchdown, this time from Rains for 24 yards, and it was 35-18. The Highlanders got the score to within nine points at 35-26 with 2:32 to go in the third quarter on a Graham-to-Edwards tenyard play and a successful two-point conversion.

The Highlanders were not giving up on their pooch kicking and seemed determined it was going to work. Guthrie was falling on the ball and getting short fields all night to this point. The Bluejays capitalized one more time when they recovered the kickoff at the 45-yard line. Rains’ 50-yard run around the end and down the sidelines capped a two play drive and made it 42-26 with 1:39 to go in the third quarter.

The Highlanders would not give up, as Kemper would score from seven yards out and the score drew back to 42-32 at the 11:28 mark after another missed extra point. The Bluejays struggled to move the ball in the fourth quarter, but another booming Rains punt pinned the Highlanders at the 13-yard line with around seven minutes to go in the game. Kemper took care of that in one play by weaving through the Bluejays defense for an 87-yard score, and with the extra point, it was suddenly 42-39 with plenty of time left.

Lawton MacArthur got one more shot with 4:37 to go deep in their own territory at the 13-yard line. This time, Kemper dropped the ball, and it was recovered by Chris Shaputis on the 41-yard line with 2:25 to go. It was victory formation from there to cap off a hard-fought win.

Rains was truly a duel threat quarterback Friday night with 13 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns and then a 4-for-6 passing night for another two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Calvert was 6-for-11 for 144 yards. Neither quarterback had an interception in the game. Stevenson caught four passes for 111 yards and two scores, Eaton had five catches for 73 yards and a score. Isaiah Hammons had maybe one of the bigger plays of the night when Rains found him wide open down the sidelines for a 42-yard pass play. Hammons also had 26 yards rushing on 13 carries in the game.

“We played really well, and I am really proud of the kids,” Head Coach Kelly Beeby said. “They executed the game plan perfectly. That was a good football team we beat Friday night.”

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