Jackets open season with 3-0 run
Choctaw came out strong when Zane Coleman recovered a high onside opening kickoff to take away what should have been Putnam City North’s opening drive.
After Putnam North had elected to receive it was instead Choctaw’s offense opening the game just 22 yards out.
After driving down to the 6-yard line, a fumble would give possession to Putnam North, and a physical back-and-forth first half would ensue.
Things looked familiar as Choctaw entered the locker room, during the home opener, trailing for the third time this year, 14-7. Once again Choctaw High School’s team proved they can overcome adversity, and this time the statement was made in a big way.
CHS returned from the break to shutout the visitors in the final two quarters. Choctaw outscored the Panthers 35-0 in the second half, and captured a rare win on the Panthers and an even more rare 3-0 season opening win streak.
“I’ll take a group of tough kids any day. At half time, we had been there and done that. We didn’t panic, and knew we had to make adjustments,” said head coach Jake Corbin, who has now led Choctaw to three come from behind wins. “We came back out and were able to clean up some mistakes on both sides of the ball. Conditioning takes over at that point, and our kids are in exceptional shape. I think that shows in the second half.”
The PC North squad is a physical team that gives up few points, and Choctaw’s ability to completely outlast the visiting Panthers speaks volumes of the Yellowjackets’ mental and physical conditioning.
“Our kids are in great shape, they’re confident in their abilities, they play like champions and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Corbin.
Woods passed for 158 yards in 19 throws. He was accurate connecting on 70 percent of his passes, and two resulted in touchdowns.
Collin Armstrong led with 54 yards receiving, and Raymond Navarro had 35. Two TD passes went to Ethan Crews who had 31 yards receiving, while Zane Coleman had two catches for 21 yards. Dakota Armstrong added an eight-yard reception for the Jackets.
Choctaw rushed for 220 yards fueled by Jaryn Curry, Tae Gibbs, Curtis Nealy and the QB.
Woods was credited for 95 yards, and capped three drives with scampers in for six. Gibbs unleashed his next level speed for 65 yards and one TD. Curry had 35 yards, and Nealy had 25 as the pair contributed on 16 crucial runs.
Dunning hit a perfect six PATs, and Crews punted just twice the entire night.
In addition to big plays that had the crowd going all night, Corbin notes each play is a team effort and athletes are working hard that won’t be credited in the stat line.
“Expectation No. 1 is to put the team first, and I’ve got a group of kids willing to do that. They don’t care who gets the credit, and they know we can accomplish anything,” said Corbin.
That winning teamwork will be needed 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22 when CHS (3-0) hosts Homecoming vs. Putnam City (3-0) in the first district contest of the year.
—— For the History Books ——
Choctaw’s win was historic as this was only the fourth CHS victory in a series against the Panthers dating back to 1978.
The last time Choctaw topped Putnam North was a 21-14 thriller back in 2006.
Choctaw hasn’t opened a season with a 3-0 run since 1982, and during a handful of years that started out 2-0 PCN was the third matchup leading to Choctaw’s first loss of the year.