Round 2 playoff matchups set
Did your team advance to the second round of the state high school football playoffs? Find out who they’ll be facing and what day and time they’ll be playing inside.
Hennessey coach Rick Luetjen had witnessed his team rebound from a grueling schedule, but he remained unsure what Friday would bring.
The Eagles had won four straight games to squeak into the playoffs. Now at powerful Luther, they were trying to pull an upset with heavy hearts.
One week before, Barbara Ortega — the mother of brothers Daniel and Alejandro Ortega — died from a heart attack.
Both are two-way starters. Both are beloved around the community.
“It really hurt our kids, too, because they’re good kids for us,” Luetjen said. “We were really struggling with that as a family and as a team.”
Down two touchdowns in the second quarter, Hennessey outscored Luther 21-6 down the stretch to pull off the 21-20 victory in the Class 2A playoffs.
The win was for the Ortegas.
“It was a great sight to see,” senior running back Dillon Joyce said. “There was a lot of emotion.”
Luther (9-2) had lost only to Millwood during the season. But Hennessey (5-6) shut down its run game to just 15 yards. Despite three big pass plays, not much else clicked for Luther.
It was the result of Hennessey’s brutal schedule.
Hennessey opened with six straight losses, five of which to teams that are in or were in The Oklahoman’s top 10 rankings.
Joyce doubted that the schedule would be beneficial until Friday.
“It’s made us stronger as a team and tougher,” Joyce said. “We can come back and not worry that we’re not strong enough.”
Joyce carried the ball 40 times for 199 yards and two touchdowns. The large amount of carries has become normal.
His stamina helped late as Hennessey chewed the final eight minutes off the clock, including kneeling three times on Luther’s 1 yard line to avoid giving the ball back.
That ended a tough week and brought hope heading into a matchup with Davis.
“It was an emotional week, but the kids really showed a lot of character and went out and played well,” Luetjen said.