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By Kevin Nichols
Contributing Writer 

Bethel Wins First-Ever Playoff Game

 

November 19, 2020

Natasha Dunagan

Bethel senior, Drae Wood, shakes off a Comanche player during the first half of the Class 2A Football Championships first-round playoffs home game on Nov. 13. Bethel won 27-0.

It was a game of firsts last Friday night. Bethel (6-3) played Comanche (3-6) in the two team's first-ever matchup last Friday night. The Wildcats hosted their first-ever home playoff game, and they got their first-ever playoff win, beating the visitors, 27-0. Oh, and the sixth win secured the first winning season in over a decade.

Bethel coach Joey Ginn said after the game, "We feel like we're progressing as a program, and that's what you want to do. You look at last Friday night, the growth and development of our program." Ginn arrived in 2017, and the 'Cats have progressed each year, going 1-9, 2-8, 5-5, and 6-3 this season.

Ginn added something else to that list: "It was also the first time in my four years that we ran for more yards than we threw for." The Wildcats exploded on offense, particularly in the second half, finishing with 469 yards of total offense on 68 plays. They rushed for 287 and threw for 182.

The game was scoreless at intermission. "We were in a dog fight in the first half." Bethel only had four possessions in the first half, and they reached the red zone twice. 

"I asked them after we left the locker room at the half this question: 'Are they better than McLoud?' Go answer with action in the second half." Ginn was referring to week two when Bethel found themselves down, 22-16, in the fourth quarter with four minutes remaining at McLoud. Bethel won that game in overtime, 28-22, scoring twelve unanswered.

Senior Drae Wood answered Coach Ginn's question on the opening kickoff return in the third quarter, taking it back 73 yards for the game's first points. After Gabe Palomares's kick, the 'Cats led, 7-0.

Bethel reached pay dirt twice more in the third quarter. Dezmen Loving scored on an eight-yard run and Corey Metscher added another score on the ground from 17 yards out. Add two more Palomares kicks and the Wildcats took a 21-0 lead into the fourth quarter. 

Metscher had a good statistical night, running for 200 yards on 24 carries and scoring three times. "Corey finished runs. He finished them by running through the safeties," Ginn said. "But the offensive line played great. We moved CJ Compton to guard during the bye and we got his brother, Krisdon, back at center."

While the offense was moving the ball at will in the second half, the defense adjusted its secondary and went to dime look in the back end. Gage Porter picked off three Comanche passes. "That kid, you put him at corner or safety. We usually put him at corner on a team's best receiver, but he played a lot of safety in this game. Two other guys who really played well and made big plays in big moments were Colby Thompson and Jesse Tucker. Thompson is a smart kid, hard worker, and has just gotten a ton better as the season's gone on. Tucker at his safety spot did a great job breaking on routes in key situations."

Metscher scored once more in the fourth quarter on a 20-yard run, closing all scoring.

"If you would have told me before the game that Drae and John Gordon would each have just forty yards receiving, I would have told you were crazy," Ginn said. "Another kid who made a great play for us was Xavier Meier. He beat his corner at the snap on a fade route-he's fast-and Jesse made a great throw and X made a great catch for a 47-yard gain."

Bethel will travel to #9 Marlow (9-0) tomorrow night for a first-ever second round playoff game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

 

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