Play­off time

McGuin­ness takes full ad­van­tage of Al­tus mis­takes

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - Adam Kemp akemp@ok­la­homan.com

See who won in the first round of the prep foot­ball play­offs.

Evan Ille faked out his blocker and had a clear path to the punter.

As the ju­nior linebacker laid out, he caught the full force of the Al­tus punt right in the chest.

“It felt great,” Ille said. “It was some­thing we had game-planned all week. No­body blocked me at all.”

Ille’s punt block was re­cov­ered in the end zone by fel­low linebacker Sam Bass for the Ir­ish’s first touch­down on the night, spurring Bishop McGuin­ness to a dom­i­nant 38-14 vic­tory over vis­it­ing Al­tus in the first round of the Class 5A play­offs.

Af­ter Al­tus drove down the field on its first pos­ses­sion, scor­ing on a

21-yard sprint by quar­ter­back Kobi Gomez, McGuin­ness played lights-out de­fense and forced three turnovers to put the game away.

Al­tus’ triple-op­tion at­tack was a con­cern for McGuin­ness coach Bryan Pierce en­ter­ing the game, but he said the Bull­dogs’ open­ing drive was a wake-up call for his de­fense.

“It comes a lot faster out here, and it took us some time to get used to their speed,” Pierce said. “I thought we re­ally stood our ground and found a groove af­ter that.”

McGuin­ness’ first score was a 28-yard Zach Sch­mit field goal, and the Ir­ish fol­lowed that with the Ille punt block for a touch­down on the next se­ries.

“That swing was huge,” Pierce said. “It took the wind out of their sails and ul­ti­mately got us up and go­ing be­fore we were able to get our of­fense click­ing.”

The Ir­ish de­fense forced two punts on the next two Al­tus pos­ses­sions be­fore McGuin­ness found a rhythm on of­fense. Quar­ter­back Luke Tar­man found re­ceiver Aaron Beck wide open for a touch­down from 14 yards to make it 17-7 at the end of the first quar­ter.

The Bull­dogs would not re­cover, turn­ing it over twice be­fore the half.

Those led to touch­down runs by Tar­man and run­ning back Do­minic Richard­son that put the game away be­fore half­time at 31-7.

Richard­son rushed 17 times for 167 yards and two touch­downs, the sec­ond of which came late in the fourth quar­ter on a 64-yard run.

Tar­man was 8-of-13 pass­ing for 134 yards and two to­tal touch­downs.

McGuin­ness will travel to Tulsa Bishop Kel­ley for the sec­ond round in a play­off ri­valry re­match.

“This is our Bed­lam ba­si­cally be­tween the Catholic schools,” Pierce said.

“Play­ing them twice in one year is dif­fi­cult, but our guys are ex­cited.”

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

McGuin­ness’s Do­minic Richard­son gets by Al­tus’ Noah Bri­ones dur­ing Fri­day’s play­off game at Bishop McGuin­ness High School in Ok­la­homa City. Bishop McGuin­ness won, 38-14.

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