OTIS — The unbeaten Otis-Bison High School football team continued down the road to dominance on Friday, beating Cunningham 72-26.
The game lasted just under five minutes into the third quarter before the Cougars amassed enough points to force the game to end.
“Offensively, we did fine,” Cougars head coach Travis Starr said of his team’s performance. “Every time we got the ball, we scored. Defensively, it came down to a few big plays.”
The Cougars (6-0), the only unbeaten team in the area, ran up 430 yards of total offense on its way to scoring 10 touchdowns — six rushing, three passing and one on special teams.
“I was thrilled,” Wildcats head coach Lance McGuire said of his team’s night. “I got four starters on the sidelines and to battle a team that I think is one of the best in the state and will probably come out of the West. I was thrilled with how our boys played.
The Cougars started immediately. After forcing a three-and-out for the Wildcats, Otis-Bison scored on its first drive. The drive comprised of three plays: two Patrick Piper rushes totaling 46 yards and finishing with an 8-yard crash into the end zone by Michael Hlavaty, his first of two on the night.
“We wanted to come out and establish the run,” Starr said. “That’s what we do first. Obviously we want to stay balanced and the last couple of games, we’ve come out throwing the ball.
“We wanted to line up and get our offensive line and running backs going again.”
Cunningham came right back on its next drive to tie it up on a 65-yard TD bomb thrown by quarterback Kyle Kerschen to Jordan Schaller. Kerschen finished with 185 passing yards, 87 rushing yards and all four of the Wildcats’ touchdowns.
The Cougars’ jumped ahead by scoring two unanswered touchdowns after the Wildcats knotted the game at eight. Otis-Bison quarterback Trevor Keller hit Brandon Pechanec for the first, a 6-yard pass, and Piper ran for the second, a 5-yard scamper.
The Wildcats responded with another monster touchdown, a 52-yard hook up between Schaller and Kerschen making it 24-14.
“They hit us with about four big plays,” Starr said. “We adjusted to them, but those four big plays we don’t need to be giving up.
“Our (defensive backs) were playing too far off. We needed to trust our speed a little better and play up on them a little bit.”
Otis-Bison got the ball in decent field position after an onside kick attempt from Cunningham and the Cougars finished their drive with a 5-yard touchdown run from Dylan Wissman.
After getting the Wildcats to punt, the Cougars put another drive together capped by Wissman, who scored this time on the ground from 27 yards out.
After another three-and-out, the Wildcats punted the ball away. The punt was mishandled by Matthew Crotinger, but he recovered the dropped ball and proceeded to weave his way through traffic for a 55-yard touchdown.
Kerschen hit Schaller again for their third and final touchdown connection, this one a 12-yard catch-and-run, making the score 44-20.
The Cougars’ next drive ended when Cunningham got some pressure on Keller, who ran from the pocket to his right, threw the ball across his body to his left, and connected with Dominic Trapp, who raced 37 yards down the left sideline to score.
After a touchback, Kerschen took the ball on a keeper for the Wildcats and ran straight up the middle and scored on a 65-yard sprint.
The resulting kickoff was the only time the Cougars touched the ball without scoring. The kick was recovered by Jackie Cornwell, who was tackled from behind and fumbled the ball. Kavan Henning recovered it for the Wildcats.
Nothing came of the turnover because the Wildcats drove to the Cunnigham 4 before the Cougars’ defense stood their ground and got the ball back on downs.
“When they stopped us on that fourth-and-short, I felt like we could’ve had a touchdown,” McGuire said. “We just didn’t get it done and there was still a minute left and they scored twice in that minute.
“That hurt because I thought we’d played pretty well up to that point.”
Hlavaty took the ball with less than a minute left and ran 66 yards, putting the Cougars up 58-26.
Another three-and-out gave the Cougars the ball back on the Wildcats’ 24 with 23 seconds left in the first half.
Otis-Bison scored again after one play from scrimmage, a 25-yard receiving touchdown scored by Crotinger, making the score 66-26 at halftime.
The Cougars got the ball at the start of the second half, drove 65 yards and scored on a 24-yard run by Wissman, ending the game at the 7:06 mark in the third quarter.
Cunningham 14 12 0—26
Otis-Bison 24 48 6—72
Otis-Bison — Hlavaty 8 run (Pechanec pass from Keller good)
Cunningham — Schaller 65 pass from Kerschen (Henning pass from Kerschen good)
Otis-Bison — Pechanec 6 pass from Keller (Hlavaty run good)
Otis-Bison — Piper 5 run (Hlavaty run good)
Cunningham — Schaller 52 pass from Kerschen (Kerschen pass failed)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 5 run (Keller run good)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 27 run (Wissman run failed)
Otis-Bison — M. Crotinger 55 punt return (Keller pass failed)
Cunningham — Schaller 12 pass from Kerschen (Kerschen pass failed)
Otis-Bison — Trapp 37 pass from Keller (Pechanec pass from Keller good)
Cunningham — Kerschen 65 run (Kerschen pass failed)
Otis-Bison — Hlavaty 66 run (Keller pass failed)
Otis-Bison — Wissman 24 run