GUTHRIE — On the second play of Guthrie's first possession Saturday, quarterback Bryan Dutton made a rare mistake.
He stared down the receiver to his right in the flat and was intercepted by Durant's Jase Hammock, who returned the ball 60 yards for a touchdown.
When Dutton and the offense came off the field, the junior wasn't greeted like he normally would've been after such an error — with a scolding from coach Rafe Watkins.
With all of Guthrie's assistant coaches adjusting to their new roles, Dutton was able to avoid a tongue lashing.
“He kind of skated by that one,” defensive coordinator Kelly Beeby said.
Dutton came back out and drove the Bluejays down the field for a tying score, and Guthrie won its first-round playoff game 53-7 at Jelsma Stadium.
Watkins, serving the first of an eight-game suspension, sat with superintendent Terry Simpson at about the 50 yard-line, eight rows up on the home side of the stadium and watched his team advance to next week's Class 5A quarterfinal against Tulsa East Central.
“I didn't find him in the stands until the last five minutes of the game,” Dutton said. “After (the interception) I didn't wanna find him, because I didn't know if he'd stand up and say something.”
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association forced Guthrie, the District 5A-1 champion, to forfeit eight games late last week after it determined that senior Clint Simek never made a bona fide move from Prague.
Guthrie appealed the ruling, and the OSSAA's board of directors approved the appeal — with several conditions, one of which was Watkins' eight-game suspension.
Watkins, as co-athletic director, took full responsibility for the mistakes made in Simek's move. He stood and suggested his own suspension during the appeal process.
Guthrie senior running back Luke Davis was the star of the day Saturday. He rushed for 179 yards and five touchdowns.
“We still really appreciate what coach did for us, and it's great knowing he's up there cheering us on,” Davis said.
Watkins can coach during the week and help game plan, but cannot have any contact with the players on gamedays until the game is over.
“The coaches did a great job,” Watkins said. “We hadn't faced an adversity — on the field — since Carl Albert, and to have that interception for a touchdown on the first drive, it rattled the kids a little bit. But I was proud of how they went back down and scored.”
Watkins came onto the field Saturday after the final second ticked off the clock, and was bear-hugged by several players, who tried to pick him up.
“It all goes back to the kids,” said Beeby, who is serving as the team's game day coordinator during Watkins' suspension.
“It's their execution. Once we get to this point, the hay's in the barn. You've got the coaching in during the week and they have to go out and execute it.”