Choctaw returns to the field following fatal shooting at season opener
Choctaw High School completed their first football game of the year Thursday with a 29-10 win over Westmoore.
While most teams moved to their third game of the season last week, Choctaw improved to 1-0 after a fatal shooting during the third quarter of the season opener vs. Del City suspended that game and put a pause on Choctaw’s season.
After almost two weeks off, Choctaw needed to play some football before district action begins and the community needed a win.
That’s what they got.
Despite looking like they were playing their first game of season, with some visible errors, the 2022 6A-II state runner-up Yellowjackets battled through the sweltering 100-degree heat jumping to an early 12-0 lead. Choctaw defended a late Jaguar rally to pull away late to earn a 29-10 victory at Moore Stadium.
“I feel like we’re behind right now. I knew that we were behind. But again, our kids are resilient. I appreciate them just finding a way to win,” said head coach Jake Corbin. “Proud of them for gutting it out against a really good and improved Westmore team. So proud of how our kids played, how they behaved, and I’m really proud of how they’ve recovered from a few weeks back. Being able to leave it on the field and find a way to go beat a good quality team. But obviously we got to get a lot better. We got to clean a lot of things up but I’m very proud of their effort and finding a way to get it done.”
Choctaw was led by quarterback Cash Williams, who accounted for three touchdowns and 352 total yards of offense.
He opened the night with an 80-yard touchdown run on the second snap of the contest.
On the next series, it was running back Mayor Morgan who’d make a long touchdown run to put Choctaw up, 12-0.
Westmoore would score a touchdown and field goal opening up the second half and bringing it within a score, 12-10.
However, Williams would find Juju Smith for a 70-yard six-point play and then run in for another TD of his own to improve the lead to 26-10 in the fourth quarter.
Terry Jennings would hit a field goal to add three for the Jackets, and Choctaw improved to 1-0 on the season.
Williams, who put in 187 yards rushing and 165 passing, would rotate QB duties with Landon Gatson throughout the night.
Gatson connected on 4-of-7 passes for 22 yards and ran for another 15.
Williams connected on 10 of his 12 pass attempts.
Juju Smith has 93 yards receiving, Hayden Mounce had 67 yards on two receptions, VR Ortiz had 22 yards and Nathan Keiffer ended the night with five.
Morgan finished with 73 yards rushing, while LT Simmons had 27.
As a team, the Jackets produced 491 total yards of offense good for four TDs and a FG.
The contest was originally scheduled to be Choctaw’s homecoming game, but Moore Public Schools attempted to cancel the game with Choctaw following their tragic season-opener that ended early when a 15-year-old allegedly shot and killed a 16-year-old and injured several others near the visitor side bleachers at CHS. The shooter and victim were not students at Choctaw or Del City.
Choctaw, alongside many other districts throughout the state, implemented improved security measures following the Aug. 25 tragedy.
However, that wasn’t enough to put Moore administrators at ease as they subjected Choctaw to a long list of requirements, including moving the game to Moore, in order to avoid a Jaguar forfeit.
Choctaw’s coaches say they needed to play football last week, because if they couldn’t get Westmoore to agree to play they’d likely be entering district competition inexperienced as if entering week one play.
“We don’t need a forfeit win. We need to play football games. We’re not as good as we need to be at football right now,” said Corbin. “We were going to do whatever it took to play. We were going to play this one on the moon, on a train, on a plane, you know, we were going to do whatever it took to play this game.”
Choctaw (1-0) has a bye this week and opens district action at Putnam City North (2-1) Sept. 22.