EDMOND — Kai Callins is just happy to be on the field.
After suffering a season-ending injury in last season's opener, the senior running back continued his impressive comeback Friday with three touchdowns to guide No. 1 Guthrie to a 28-3 rout of No. 5 Deer Creek.
“It feels good to get in the end zone, but most importantly I'm just thankful I'm able to play,” Callins said.
The Bluejays remain perfect on the season with an 8-0 record and remain firmly in control of District 5A-2 with a 5-0 record heading into next week's big game against McGuinness.
“We've got to win,” Guthrie coach Rafe Watkins said. “We physically got beat up by McGuinness last year. We've got to come ready to play this year and I think the kids are.”
They were certainly ready for Deer Creek, dominating from the opening kickoff.
Callins scored on the second possession on a 3-yard keeper out of the Wildcat formation and then scored from 2 yards out on another keeper on the next possession.
Deer Creek quarterback Caden Sander then fumbled inside the Antlers' 20 to set up a 12-yard TD pass by Guthrie's Reed Roberts to L'liott Curry for a 21-0 lead with five minutes remaining in the half.
By the break, Guthrie had run 35 plays to Deer Creek's 18.
“The first half our offensive line, we thought, played really well and came off the ball and hit people,” Watkins said. “We bullied them around a little bit in the first half.”
The Bluejays' defense finished the night allowing just 133 total yards, including holding the Antlers to minus-14 yards rushing.
It was a performance that even surprised Callins, who also played cornerback.
“I'm very impressed,” he said. “I knew that we'd be really good on defense, but I didn't think we'd be that good. We pressured the quarterback a lot and just what we did on him was great.”
Guthrie entered the game allowing just 38.1 yards per game on the ground and 92.9 through the air. It also allowed just 8.9 points per game.
With those numbers, the defensive effort against the Antlers almost seemed normal.
“Deer Creek's got a great offense,” Watkins said. “They've been scoring points on everybody this year. For them to hold them the way they did tonight, I was really proud of them.”
Deer Creek (5-3, 3-2) had a few chances to score, getting inside the red zone three times but failing to score twice. The lone points came on a 25-yard field goal by Dillon Noble with just more than six minutes remaining in the third.
Callins, though, answered with a 27-yard TD run up the middle on the following possession to ice the game.
He finished with 129 yards on 20 carries, with the three touchdowns increasing his season total to 20 on the ground.
And, Callins said, that's the result of the improved offensive line.
“Honestly, that's the best line I've ever run with,” he said. “They've improved so much, they had so many doubters and they put in so much work in the offseason. Them and Idae Alexander, who had a big day blocking and running, just to have them make big holes for me was a big confidence booster.”