INOLA — The good news for the Sequoyah football team Friday night was the Eagles played Inola even on the scoreboard over the final three quarters of the teams’ District 3A-4 matchup at Longhorn Stadium.
The not-so-good news is that Sequoyah fell behind 23-0 after just one quarter of play on the way to a 37-14 loss to the Longhorns as the Eagles suffered their 16th-straight loss dating back to November 2017.
“We’re making some good plays,” Sequoyah coach Rob Gilbreath said after seeing his squad score the game’s final 14 points—all coming in the fourth quarter.
“The problem is inconsistency,” Gilbreath added. “That’s what’s hurting us right now.”
Last week the Eagles (0-5, 0-2 district) played a solid first half at Locust Grove before turning in a less-than-desirable second half enroute to a 27-0 loss.
Against Inola (3-2, 1-1), it was just the opposite.
Sequoyah surrendered a touchdown on Inola’s second offensive snap of the night and had a fourth down snap go over the punter’s head and out of the end zone for a safety as part of the Longhorns’ big first quarter.
“We just have to compete,” Gilbreath said. “Right now we are lacking confidence. We have a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing who need to have confidence. We have to have a different mentality. Part of rebuilding is getting the confidence so that players will have it when adversity hits.”
And adversity once again struck the Eagles on Friday night, some of which was self-inflicted while some came via the play of the Longhorns, who blanked Sequoyah 42-0 a year ago.
A 66-yard ramble around right end for a touchdown by Inola running back Clint Stites on the game’s second offensive play started Inola’s first-quarter avalanche.
“We got behind the 8-ball right off the start,” Gilbreath said.
On the Eagles’ ensuing possession, quarterback Brett Burks was sacked for a 10-yard loss at the Sequoyah 7-yard on third down to set up a punting situation.
But as was the case earlier this season against Sperry, the snap from center on an intended fourth-down punt was high and rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety.
Less than three minutes into the contest, the Eagles were down 9-0.
Inola then made it 16-0 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Landen Prows to wide receiver Ethan Trosky.
The duo hooked up a second time with 1:00 to go in the first quarter—this time from 24 yards out—to give the Longhorns a 23-point cushion entering the second quarter.
The Prows-Trotsky tandem made it three scores in a row on a six-yard pass with 5:14 remaining before halftime.
That touchdown gave the Longhorns a 30-0 advantage at the break.
Sequoyah’s defense forced a pair of Longhorn turnovers in the first half—both on recovered fumbles—to thwart Inola scoring drives.
But the Eagles’ offense was pretty much stymied in the first two quarters except for rushes of 12 and 20 yards by freshman running back Logan Hattaway.
But after Prows scored on a 24-yard run in the third quarter to make it a 37-0 game, Sequoyah’s offense and defense began to click.
Donovan Wilson hauled in a 19-yard pass in the fourth quarter in an Eagles’ drive that made it to the Inola 30-yard line before Burks was sacked for an 11-yard loss on third down to end that promising march.
But Sequoyah’s defense stopped Inola on downs at its own 29-yard line on the Longhorns’ ensuing possession and the Eagles capitalized.
On the third play of Sequoyah’s next drive, Wilson ripped a 51-yard gain up the middle to the Longhorns’ 12-yard line.
Two plays later, Wilson took the ball across the goal line from three yards for the Eagles’ first points of the game with 4:04 remaining.
“I was glad for Donovan,” Gilbreath said. “He is one of our seniors. It was great for him to have some success there.”
Added Wilson: “It felt really good to score. We started blocking well and were getting a good feel for things in the second half.”
Sophomore defensive lineman Saige Hicks then recovered a fumble—Inola’s third turnover of the game—on the home team’s next offensive play and Sequoyah was back in business, once again at the Longhorns 12.
One play later, Hattaway took a swing pass from Burks in the left flat and raced to paydirt to make it 37-14 with 2:37 to play.
The Eagles return to district action by entertaining Berryhill at 7 p.m. Friday at the Pope Athletic Complex.