McGuinness rides strong first half for 42-14 victory
By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
After a rocky start, Midwest City appeared to right the ship against Bishop McGuinness.
The Irish (7-3) took an early 14-0 lead in the Class 5A playoff opener at Rose Field. Midwest City’s Jahhim Mahmoud answered with a 64-yard touchdown run up the middle, making it a one score game.
But hope soon fizzled as McGuinness scored three unanswered touchdowns before the half. They beat the Bombers (6-5) on a deep pass and cashed in on two turnovers.
McGuinness put up 35 points in the first half and went on to win 42-14.
“It’s a really disappointing way to end the year,” said Midwest City coach Darrel Hall. “We didn’t play the way I thought we would tonight.”
Mahmoud was a bright spot with 154 rushing yards and one score on 13 carries. Lasiera Laviolette ran for 78 yards on 17 carries. Quarterback Kenneth Colston had 50 yards and one score, but struggled passing.
The Irish finished with 482 offensive yards. They had a balanced attack with 243 yards passing and 239 yards on the ground. Midwest City finished with 298 yards but had a minus four yards passing.
McGuinness raced to an early 14-0 lead. After stopping the Bombers on fourth down, the Irish drove 76 yards for their first score. JR Fletcher scored on a five-yard run with 6:07 in the first.
They later drove 90 yards for their second score. Quarterback Damon Cochran II found Peter Bilicki for a 29-yard touchdown pass down the far sidelines on the first play of the second quarter.
Midwest City answered with a quick strike. Mahmoud blasted through the middle of the defense for a 64-yard touchdown run. David Arriaga added the extra point, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
But that momentum quickly faded. McGuinness closed out the first half with 21 consecutive points.
On third-and-16 from their own 38, the Irish went deep. Cochran hit a wide-open Nathan Steiner on a 61-yard touchdown pass down the far sidelines. That made it a 21-7 score with 8:31 in the half.
“We had a chance to get back in the game and then we give up a 61-yard touchdown pass when we’re playing man defense,” Hall said. “We just need to do a better job and be more disciplined.”
The Irish then cashed in on a pair of turnovers. Kenneth Colston had the ball stripped on a quarterback keeper inside Bomber territory. McGuinness scored on a double reverse. Bilicki was upended as he dove for the pylon but still scored for a 28-7 lead.
On the next play, the Irish picked off a pass from Colston at the Bomber 20. Cochran later found Steiner for a nine-yard score.
McGuinness led 35-7 at halftime.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Irish and Bombers traded scores in the fourth. Fletcher caught a 14-yard score for McGuiness with 6:18 to play. Colston later scored on a 21-yard touchdown run, making it a 42-14 final.
“This has been the most difficult year of coaching with outside things not related to football and things that we can’t do anything about,” Hall said. “I told our guys that we can only control what we can control. And we can control what happens on this football field. And we did not do a good job with it.”
Kiewon Landrum led the team in tackles with 11 and had one interception. Ross Jones finished with 10 tackles and Jaeshawn Grigsby had seven tackles and a sack.
McGuinness will face Bishop Kelley on Friday in the second round of the playoffs.
Kelley beat McGuinness 24-7 in the regular season.