By TOMMY WELLS
Special to the Index
TRENT – For years, the Strawn Greyhounds rode the legs of Trey Doyle, Parker Purvis and a high-octane offense to deep runs in the state playoffs.
On Thursday night, the Greyhounds rode the strength of a stifling defense to gain a resounding 52-6 rout of the Jayton Jaybirds in the area round of the six-man football Division II state playoffs.
The win vaulted Strawn into the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in the past five seasons.
The Greyhounds will face Newcastle, a winner over Guthrie, at 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 29) at Ram Stadium in Mineral Wells in the state quarterfinals.
How dominating was the Strawn defense? The Greyhounds limited Jayton to minus-24 yards rushing and just three first downs – two of which came via penalties – in a game that was called with 7:43 remaining in the third quarter. Oh, and they forced three turnovers.
That’s pretty dominating, especially in six-man football.
“Our defense is playing a lot better, and we are excited about that,” Strawn head coach Dewaine Lee said. “The guys have gotten more comfortable with what we want them to do and are playing a lot faster.”
Of course, Strawn got plenty of star power on the ground in the win. Sophomore running back Coletyn King rushed for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while junior spread back Harrison Nowak ran for 81 yards and another score.
“We had to switch a lot of guys to different positions on offense earlier in the year and they are starting to play well together,” Lee said.”Our running backs are seeing the field very well.
“The backs are also getting great blocking.”
Amazingly enough, Jayton provided the first spark in the second-round showdown, which was played at Gorilla Stadium. The Jaybirds managed to score the game’s first touchdown just 1:26 into the contest when spread back Slade Colter hit Sheldon Burch with a 48-yard TD pass on a third-and 21 play.