The Guthrie Bluejays battled their way to the Class 5A state championship Friday afternoon with a 24-7win over previously unbeaten Lawton MacArthur.
Guthrie sophomore Kai Callins came up with a big interception in the second half and two touchdowns in the game to give Guthrie the advantage and lead the Bluejays to their third overall football state title.
The No. 1 ranked Bluejays took home this year's gold ball even without head coach Rafe Watkins on the sidelines with them after he was forced to sit out eight games after a Guthrie player was ruled ineligible for OSSAA violations back in early November.
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The game got out to a quick and slippery start. On the first play from scrimmage Guthrie quarterback Bryan Dutton fumbled on the Bluejays first offensive play.
Lawton MacArthur took over on the Guthrie 27, but couldn't capitalize and went three-and-out and had a 25-yard field goal partially blocked.
Guthrie's first score of the game came in the first quarter when quarterback Bryan Dutton fired a 25-yard pass to Donovan Jordan who made the diving catch for the score to put the Bluejays up 7-0.
The rest of the first half went scoreless, but had a total of three turnovers--two from Lawton MacArthur and one by Guthrie. At the break the Highlanders had managed only 70 yards of total offense to the Bluejays 127 yards.
The Bluejays threatened early in the third quarter but settled for a 26-yard field goal by Esau Paez to go up 10-0.
On the next Lawton MacArhur series, Guthrie's Callins picked off a pass and returned it 57-yards for a touchdown to give the Bluejays a 17-0 advantage.
The Highlanders answered 24 seconds later on a two play drive that ended in a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Chasteen to Quinton Para to put Lawton Mac on the board.
In the fourth, Lawton Mac recovered a Guthrie fumble and marched down the field to threaten once again. A quarterback keeper by Chasteen set the Highlanders up inside the 10-yard line, but after an illegal substitution by Guthrie, then a holding call on the Highlanders, Lawton Mac had to settle for a 31-yard field goal attempt. That field goal was missed by Tulsa commit Daniel Schwartz who went 0-2 on the afternoon.
Guthrie got the ball back with just over four minutes to play and once again it was Callins who would come up big with a 48-yard touchdown run to seal the deal for the Bluejays making it 24-7.
"I am just extremely proud of our kids, we've got great coaches and a great staff and great players—I'm just excited as I can be for everybody," said defensive coordinator and acting head coach Kelly Beeby.
"It means everything, that's why you coach is for the kids," said Watkins."I've got an unbelievable staff and an unbelievable team."
"It feels great to bring it back to Guthrie," said Callins who finished the game with nine rushes for 131 yards and two touchdowns.
"It's an amazing feeling, we played collectively as a group and we proved to Lawton Mac and the rest of the state of Oklahoma that we deserve this and we deserve to be here," said Guthrie quarterback Bryan Dutton who totaled 161 yards of total offense and one touchdown pass.
"I think the most special thing about this whole deal is that we thought we were out but the Lord blessed us and kept us in it and they beat four good teams to get here," said Watkins.
"We're not the biggest team, we're not the fastest team, but we've got a lot of heart and that's what got us through this," added Callins.
Guthrie finished the game with 346 yards of total offense to Lawton Mac's 301 yards.
No. 2 Lawton MacArthur, who averaged 40 points per game on the season was held to its lowest point total of the season. The Highlanders and third year head coach Brett Manning were looking for their first state title in school history, but they round out the season at 13-1.
Guthrie finishes the season at a perfect 14-0 and takes home the school's first gold ball since 2007.