HENNESSEY, Okla. —
The Hennessey Eagles took their first postseason step to a third straight Class 2A state title Friday, trampling Crooked Oak in game that was almost never in doubt.
Octavio Pina recovered a muffed kickoff, caught passes from both teams, including a 24-yard touchdown from Eagles quarterback Dylan Hatchel, and Hennessey breezed past Crooked Oak in a windy 2A playoff opener, 54-7.
Pina bolstered the Hennessey effort early and often, giving the Eagles more opportunities than they would need and taking advantage of several on his own.
After Hennessey took a 6-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Levi Hill, Pina pounced on a muffed kickoff and the Eagles took posession at the Ruff-Nex’ 38.
Pina’s 12-yard scamper on a toss sweep was the longest play in a drive that ended with another Hill chip-shot touchdown, the senior’s second of three 1-yard scores.
Pina ended the Ruff-Nex’ best hope to answer with an interception at the Hennessey 4-yard line, and then signaled the Eagle rout with a scoring catch on a perfectly executed double-move pass from Hatchel.
“Throughout practice, we’ve worked on our connection,” Pina said. “It’s been there. He read it right, we went for the read and it was a touchdown.”
“The corner bit on the pump,” Hatchel said. “He was wide open, and the rest is history. We were hoping to catch them biting on the short outs and the bubbles and stuff like that and catch them over the top.”
Pina essentially ended Crooked Oak’s last hope to advance with a touchdown on a 79-yard kickoff return following the Ruff-Nex’ first touchdown, a 1-yard run by Crooked Oak quarterback Shauntral Skales, and snuck in one last parting shot with an interception returned 54 yards for the game’s final score.
“I never picture myself like that,” Pina said. “I picture myself playing a game at a time, especially in the playoffs. Last year, I was one of the younger ones in the secondary getting a lot of experience, and I’ve grown up.”
“He’s always good for big plays for us, whether it’s on special teams or defensively, or whatever,” said Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen. “He’s just a great kid to have out there on the football field.”
Skanes was as difficult to tackle in the open field as advertised, but the slippery Crooked Oak junior rarely had space to operate. Skanes did gash the Eagles for a score in the third quarter, but Hennessey largely limited the 5-foot-9, 170-pound quarterback, who finished with nine carries for 75 yards on the ground and 32 yards and an interception on 2-of-5 passing. The Ruff-Nex’ dangerous, option-heavy offense never gained its usual traction. Crooked Oak finished with 134 yards rushing as a team.
“I thought we did a pretty good job,” Luetjen said. “We had a few busts on a few plays, but when you have athletes like they do like (Skanes) and their running backs, those are guys you just don’t want to have out in the open, and I thought we did a good job getting him down the few times when they did.”
Hill paced the Eagles ground game, finishing with 137 yards and three scores on 16 carries.
The win was Hennessey’s fourth-straight first-round playoff win, each coming in blowout fashion. The Eagles have outscored first-round opponents 199-47 since 2008.
They advance to host Washington Nov. 16 in the 2A State playoffs’ second round. Washington beat Kingston, 43-6 on Friday.
“It’s one game at a time, man,” Hatchel said. “Just got to take it one game at a time. One by one.”
“We told them this is probably going to be our last easy one,” Luetjen added. “There’s not going to be an easy one from here on in. We’ve got Washington next week, and they’ve got a good football team, a good football program year in, year out. It’ll be a dog fight. They all will from here on in.”