SALINA, OK —
Jon Parsons scored on three first-half touchdown runs, the Salina defense shut down Ketchum and the Wildcats cruised to a 44-14 victory on homecoming night Friday.
Parsons finished with a game-high 81 yards on eight carries and scored on runs of 22, 30 and four yards in the first 18 minutes of the game to help Salina (3-1, 1-0 District 2A-8) open up a 34-0 halftime lead on the visitors.
“We couldn't ask to be in a better position, but it doesn't get any easier by any means,” SHS head coach Kyle Fowler said. “You can't be any any better than 1-0 [in district] at this stage of the season. You sure don't want to be behind the eight-ball losing that first one.”
Salina's defense was absolutely suffocating through the first three quarters. The Wildcats bottled up the Ketchum rushing attack (39 yards on 26 carries) and didn't allow a first down until 1:20 remained in the third period. The strong defense led to a major advantage in the field position battle as well, as the Wildcats took just two snaps in their own territory during the first half.
After Parson's first TD scamper with 8:02 left in the first quarter, Salina forced Ketchum to punt. Cullen Patterson blocked the kick and Parsons recovered at the Warrior 7. Bret Fite punched the ball in four plays later from a yard out.
Senior homecoming king and quarterback Cale Backward sneaked in on a read option with 3:14 remaining in the first half to put the hosts up 34-0 in front of the homecoming court, including the queen, senior Morgan Garner. Salina scored on five of its first six drives.
“I was really proud of the way they played. They prepared well, had a pretty good read on them,” Fowler said. “That's what I'm most proud of [playing well on homecoming night]. Going in, you're always scared of coming out flat, but they responded very well."
Kyle Johnson nailed a 32-yard field goal after halftime and Matt Ogle scored on a 32-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to give Salina a 44-0 lead before Ketchum tacked on a pair of touchdowns in garbage time.
The Warriors (2-2, 0-1 2A-8) finally picked up a first down late in the third quarter when quarterback Zach Royal found Chase Monroe for a 54-yard gain on third-and-8 from the Ketchum 12-yard-line. Royal completed six of his 15 throws for 161 yards but also threw three interceptions to Patterson, Logan Gardner and Bryce Kerns.
The Wildcats had turnover problems of their own, putting the ball on the turf seven times and losing three fumbles.
Backward finished 5-of-8 through the air for 78 yards. Fite carried the brunt of the load for the 'Cats on the ground, finishing with 75 yards on 15 totes. A dozen Wildcats got backfield touches, and the team racked up 223 rushing yards on the night.
Salina will battle Colcord next Friday at home in a district contest. Kickoff against the 3-1 Hornets is set for 7 p.m.