Special to The Sun
Two of the top three Class 5A undefeated teams battled it out to the finish Thursday night at Guthrie’s Jelsma Stadium.
And it took overtime to decide the victor in Guthrie’s controversial 42-35 triumph over Deer Creek.
The Antlers recovered a Guthrie fumble on what seemed to first be ruled a lateral and would have ended the contest with just 23 seconds left in regulation and Deer Creek leading 35-28, but the tables turned on the Antlers after a long discussion along with a flag being tossed. After several minutes, no signal was given and the ball was marked at the line of scrimmage. On the play, it appeared Blue Jay gunslinger Bryan Dutton was sacked before he threw the ball toward the right sideline.
The conclusion was an incomplete pass with no yardage marked off from the penalty flag.
The genesis enabled Dutton to hit a wide-open Brian Rice on a crossing pattern in the middle of the end zone for a 9-yard scoring strike to force overtime. In the auxiliary period, Dutton rushed into the end zone on first down for a 42-35 lead.
Deer Creek lost a fumble inside the 5-yard line on its second play in overtime to send Jelsma Stadium into a frenzy, thus giving Guthrie the win and first place in the district standings.
Antler Alec James scored a pair of touchdowns for Deer Creek — one receiving and one rushing — while quarterback Joel Blumenthal threw for three TDs and hit on 16-of-27 passes for 281 yards, most of it going to Jared Rayburn, who scored on a 52-yard reception and ended the night with a whopping 10 catches for 176 yards.
James netted 42 yards on three grabs and teammate Jacob Anderson wound up with 41 yards on a pair of huge catches. Anderson caught a 2-yard TD pass on a slant with just two seconds left before halftime and also hauled in a 39-yarder to set up James’ go-ahead rushing score with just 1:25 left to play in the game.
On defense, Caden Sander knocked down two passes in the end zone when Guthrie was chunking it in the waning seconds. But he was whistled for pass interference on one of them before Rice caught the game-tying score. Sander also returned a kickoff 88 yards to the Blue Jay five, setting up James’ TD reception. Brennan Miyake scored the remaining touchdown on a 5-yard run for Deer Creek.
Early in the game Antler Tyler Follis recorded a minus-3 sack and teammate Austin Loomis sacked Dutton for a loss of seven yards just before intermission. Miyake picked up a minus-9 sack in the third and Antlers Eli Hooks and Eric Brown teamed up on a sack for a loss of a dozen yards with just 5:45 left in the fourth.