TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah's offense can't function without Mason McMillan. Friday night's game on Gable Field bore witness to that.
The Tigers' senior tailback left with a hip injury early in the second quarter and Tahlequah never recovered, suffering a 54-0 beatdown at the hands of Class 5A No. 7 Coweta on a blustery night in front of a depleted homecoming crowd at Doc Wadley Stadium.
"We put BC (Brandon Conrad) in and were still able to do some things," Tahlequah coach Brad Gilbert said. "But the game just kind of got out of hand."
Coweta (4-2, 2-1 District 5A-4) limited Tahlequah to 195 yards of total offense — most of which came with the game already decided in the second half — with McMillan only accounting for 24 yards on eight carries.
"We didn't come ready to play," said Gilbert, whose team fell to 1-5 overall and 1-2 in 5A-4. "That's my fault as much as anybody's. It also didn't help that we lost some key players."
No, no it didn't.
Tahlequah's locker room following the game better resembled an infirmary with players beaten and battered. McMillan departed with a slight limb, while offensive/defensive lineman Austin Robertson left with his arm in a sling. Tyler Eisensmith, Caleb Morton and Alex Rice were also hurt throughout the course of the game.
"That takes a toll on a young football team that doesn't have a whole lot of depth," Gilbert said of the rash of injuries. "...All those guys that were hurt were seniors that have been there with us for the last three years. Now we have to see what we've got and continue to move forward."
With Tahlequah's nucleus lost for the night, Coweta marched to its first easy victory of the season. It was Coweta's first game the season decided by more than nine points.