SHAWNEE — At this time last year, Shawnee was 2-5 and struggling to find its way with a sophomore quarterback leading a team that was young all the way through.
A year later, that quarterback has grown up, and so has the roster around him. With essentially the same players as a year ago, other than a few minor differences, the Wolves are 5-2 coming off one of their biggest wins of the year, a 42-10 upset of then-No. 6 Tulsa Kelley.
Quarterback John Jacobs, 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, rushed for 89 yards on 13 carries and completed 13 of 18 passes for 250 yards with four total touchdowns to earn The Oklahoman's staff selection as the City-Area Player of the Week.
Jacobs has begun to draw some recruiting interest from programs such as Indiana and Oklahoma State, because of his size and speed. He ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash during a camp at Vanderbilt over the summer.
But the credit for Shawnee's turnaround belongs to more than just Jacobs. Running back Dillon Dutton had his third consecutive 100-yard game in the upset of Kelley, and Chris Lester had another strong performance, having emerged as a go-to receiver for the Wolves.
And the offensive line has emerged, despite one of its best players having yet to take the field this season because of injury.
“Our offensive line is big and physical,” Shawnee coach Billy Brown said. “We have two seniors, three juniors and a sophomore who play up there, and they've really come together. They've been good all season, but last week, they were doing it consistently. Every snap.”
Tulsa Kelley went ahead 10-7 with 6:35 left in the second quarter, but the Wolves scored the final 35 points of the game.
Jacobs had rushing TDs of 36, 2 and 13 yards, and Dutton added a pair of touchdown runs for the Wolves as well. Jacobs hit Lester for a 23-yard touchdown pass on third-and-22 early in the third quarter to put Shawnee up 28-10.
The Shawnee defense has been solid as well. The Wolves are the only team to hold No. 2 McAlester below 45 points, though it came in a 28-14 loss. Shawnee has allowed just 17 total points the last two weeks in blowout wins.
“Last week was the most complete game we've played, offense, defense and special teams,” Brown said. “It's what we've been hoping for and anticipating. We were able to do some things consistently that we hadn't done consistently all season.”
Last week's win also put the Wolves in good position for a home playoff berth if they can close the season strong in games against Durant, Tulsa Hale and Noble.
Quite a change from the 2-5 record of a year ago.
“We're getting everything together on Friday nights,” Brown said. “It's the difference between a young team and a mature team.”