ON TOP: Tigers separate from Putnam City West in the second half, claim 27-6 road win

Sep. 24—OKLAHOMA CITY — Tahlequah scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from Putnam City West, 27-6, Friday and win its District 6A-II-1 opener at Putnam City West High School.

Running back Darryn Spahr had a 50-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that ignited the Tigers, who moved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the district under head coach Brad Gilbert.

Running back Josh Munoz added the other two second-half TDs. Munoz scored from one yard out at the 6:46 mark of the fourth quarter and completed the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run with 2:32 remaining.

It was a rock beginning for Tahlequah, who scored on its first offensive possession but couldn't capitalize on two other trips into the red zone.

"It was ugly and sloppy early, but we weathered the storm and figured a few things out in the second half and got things going offensively," Gilbert said. "Hats off to the defense. The defense kept making plays and doing the things that they needed to do.

"For the first district game to be 1-0, it wasn't exactly what we wanted, but the outcome was and that's what is important. It's a process and these kids weathered a storm."

Sophomore receiver Beckett Robinson capped a 56-yard scoring drive on a 5-yard touchdown run to get the Tigers started in the first quarter. Quarterback Brody Younger had a 20-yard completion to tight end Brayden Northington on Tahlequah's first offensive snap, Munoz had runs of 13 and 10 yards, and Robinson had a 13-yard run prior to his TD run.

Munoz and Spahr both had over 100 yards on the ground to lead the Tigers' offense. Munoz had a game-high 106 yards on 16 carries, and Spahr added 102 yards on 14 attempts.

Spahr's third-quarter bolt for a touchdown came at the perfect time for Tahlequah.

"It was the icebreaker a little bit," Gilbert said. "It allowed everybody to relax on the sideline and it was a great job up front. They created a big hole and he made one guy miss and he was gone. That was great to see."

Younger completed 11 of 14 passes for 125 yards, and Robinson finished with four receptions for 56 yards. The Tigers closed with 381 total yards of offense.

"We went back to the run in the second half and Spahr and Munoz ran the ball well," Gilbert said. "The guys up front found something that was working and played well. We executed down the stretch and that's what is most important."

Tahlequah limited the Patriots to 190 total yards of offense and forced four turnovers. Robinson had an interception and the Tigers recovered three fumbles. Putnam City West was just 2 for 13 on third downs and was forced to punt five times.

The Patriots lone score came on a 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Shyheim Johnson to receiver Tripp Alexander at the 6:54 mark of the second quarter.

"The defense played well," Gilbert said. "They put pressure on the quarterback, they were physical up front and made some good plays on the back end. Jayden Moore and Jacob Morrison played really well at linebacker. They both made a lot of plays."

Johnson threw for 131 yards and completed 12 of his 20 pass attempts with an interception. The Patriots also got 67 receiving yards on five catches from receiver Jordan Warrior.

Tahlequah returns to Doc Wadley Stadium Friday, Sept. 30 when it hosts Sand Springs (2-2, 0-1) in a 7 p.m. kickoff. The Sandites fell to Muskogee, 48-26, Friday.