“It’s just tough watching it end…” – Postseason Thoughts and Looking to Next Season in the McAlester Area

Last Updated: November 12, 20233.4 min read

After covering this region all football season, it has finally come to an end. Here’s my take on what happened in the McAlester Area during Round 1 of the Oklahoma High School Football Playoffs.

McAlester falls to Bishop Kelley – 36-21

The Buffs put up a fight against the Comets, but were unable to keep their postseason drive alive.

Payton’s Take: McAlester is always a force to be reckoned with on the football field, and this legacy will continue. I am looking forward to see what the Buffs do next season, as they are are talented program with crucial athletes coming back next season. With the loss of seniors like QB Caden Lesnau, OL Zac Rogers and WR Malachi Wrice, McAlester will have some major positions to fill next season.

Lesnau had 53 yards, Ethan Watkins had 48 yards and a touchdown, and Jordan Clark had 12 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown to lead the ground game. Carter Lance topped all receivers with 52 yards, followed by Watkins with 35 yards, Wrice with 30 yards, and Lesnau with 79 yards and a touchdown on 6/12 throwing.

“If anything in life, if we can teach them to get up and fight every time they get knocked down — if we can teach them to get up and really bust their tails and do what’s needed,” Coach Forrest Mazey said. “Then they’re going to be good citizens, good productive young men. And I’m proud of them for that.”

“It’s just tough watching it end.”

McAlester’s Caden Lesnau

Hartshorne falls to Pawnee – 44-24

Payton’s Take: The Miners could not handle the run-style offense of the Black Bears. Pawnee ran a similar offense to the Clinton Red Tornadoes: they run the ball right at you, every single play. The Black Bears also substantially outsized the Miners on the offensive and defensive lines. Hartshorne was outmatched, but played the hardest I have seen them play all season.

Though his last game in the blue and white, Senior QB Jackson Moody put up a great fight for his team, rushing and passing with proficiency and patience against a seasoned Pawnee defense, as well as rushing for two touchdowns. Moody finished his varsity career (minus the Pawnee game) with impressive stats, including 2,500 passing yards and 24 touchdown passes with a notable 107.8 quarterback rating. His dual-threat capability was evident in 1,720 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns over 30 games. His all-purpose yards totaled 1,947, showcasing his versatility. Moody’s overall impact is encapsulated in 4,224 total yards, averaging 140.8 yards per game. He was also the third leading tackler at the free safety position.

Sophomore RB/LB Acetin Rowell, the Miners leading tackler, is a powerhouse tackler and rusher every game, and he showcased is athleticism on Friday night. Junior Gus Miller also played with a fire that I haven’t seen from him in previous games, tackling and making defenders miss at running back. Senior RB/LB Kelby Thomason, coming off a knee injury, ran hard for the Miners and disrupted the backfield and offensive pocket on defense. Senior OL/DL Treyce Morgan, the second leading tackler on the team, fought hard on the offensive and defensive lines; he played like a true football player this week.

The Miners are losing key seniors in Moody, Thomason and Morgan; they have some BIG shoes to fill next season.

Hartshorne vs. Liberty – Photo: Chris Bischoff 

I am so excited to be covering SE Oklahoma, my home! If you have any information to share on your team or you would like to recommend specific school coverage in the Southeast Area, please email me at payton.moody@vype.com.

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If you’re interested in reading more content about high school sports in Southeast Oklahoma, check out Losses Plague the McAlester Area – What Happened on Week 6?

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