KINGFISHER — If anyone is still wondering how No. 1-ranked Kingfisher might fare when the Yellow Jackets get pushed, well, the wondering should stop.
Tied midway through the second quarter on Friday night against No. 7 Tuttle, the Yellow Jackets came up with four big plays before halftime to take a two-touchdown lead, then played solid defense after that en route to a 35-14 win in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Kingfisher quarterback Grant Newton rushed for 163 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and passed for 103 yards, while his backfield mate, Landon Nault, carried 25 times for 104 yards and three scores and also threw a 39-yard touchdown pass.
The Yellow Jackets' defense also shined, limiting Tuttle (10-2) to seven yards rushing. Tuttle's Jesse Gregory, one of 3A's hottest running backs in recent weeks, had seven carries for 15 yards.
“We've heard a lot of talk about how we really haven't had a tough schedule, and we haven't,” Newton said. “But we were really excited about coming out and playing a team that was going to push us physically and make us play a four-quarter game. It was fun to play four quarters for the first time in who knows how many weeks.”
Kingfisher (12-0) had been in only one close game all season, a 21-20 win at 2A power Hennessey in the third week of the season. The Yellow Jackets have posted seven shutouts and allowed only two teams to score more than six points in any game.
But when Dawson Bassett intercepted a Newton pass and returned it 55 yards, all of a sudden it was 14-14 midway through the second quarter and Tuttle had all the momentum.
Kingfisher answered right back. Passes by Newton of 41 yards to Jake Blair and 35 yards to Keaton Ely set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Nault. On Kingfisher's final series of the half, on successive plays, Nault scooted 38 yards to the Tuttle 39, then threw a touchdown pass on a halfback option play to Ely, making it 28-14.
“We've been working on that this week,” Nault said of the option pass. “We put that in this week and we decided to go for it and it worked out well.”
Tuttle reached the Kingfisher 24 on the first drive of the second half, but lost the ball on downs. The Tigers made it to the Kingfisher 42 midway through the fourth quarter, but successive sacks of Cooper Koons by the Yellow Jackets ended that threat. Kingfisher sealed the win on a 1-yard touchdown run by Nault with 1:50 left.
The Yellow Jackets will host Stigler next week in the quarterfinals.
“Our line played awesome the entire game and dominated the line of scrimmage,” Newton said. “Without them, none of our lanes would have been open and those yards wouldn't have been possible.”
Koons completed 17-of-36 passes for 223 yards for Tuttle.