Beggs rallies to defeat Sulphur to reach 3A title game for first time since 1977

Beggs junior defensive end T.J. Austin (4) applies pressure to Sulphur QB Dawson Muck (11) during last Friday’s Class 3A semifinal game at Edmond Santa Fe High School. Austin came away with the game-clinching defensive play in the Demons’ 37-28 victory.
(Larry Owen, Times staff)

By LARRY OWEN

Times Sports Editor

 

EDMOND - It has been 40 years since the Beggs Golden Demon football team played for a Gold Ball.

The last time that the Demons competed for a state championship in football was 1977 when they were blanked 20-0 by Watonga in the Class A title game.

This past Friday, the Beggs squad (ranked fourth in 3A) punched their ticket to the Class 3A state championship game with a 37-28 victory over the fifth-ranked Sulphur Bulldogs in the 3A semifinals at Edmond Santa Fe High School.

The Demons' final obstacle on their journey towards their first state championship since 1975 will be the third-ranked John Marshall Bears out of Oklahoma City, who earned a spot in the Class 3A state title game after upsetting top-ranked, unbeaten, and defending state champion Jones 29-26 last Friday in Putnam City.

The Class 3A state championship game will take place this Friday at 7 p.m. at Stillwater High School.

In last Friday's semifinal game against Sulphur, Beggs junior quarterback Dalton Spring used his arm to give the Demons the lead in the fourth quarter, then used his legs to secure the semifinal win on 3rd and 1 in the final minute of regulation.

Offensively, the Demons racked up 514 yards of total offense and scored six times. Spring threw for a season-best 426 yards in last Friday's semifinal contest, completing 21 of 35 attempts with four completions going for touchdowns. Spring's semifinal performance ranks the Beggs signal caller 12th on the all-time playoff passing record in the state of Oklahoma - two yards ahead of Bishop McGuinness' Jacob Mullins' 424-yard performance in 2015 against McAlester.

Spring had touchdown passes of 56 and 71 yards, respectively, erased by holding penalties in the third quarter or the Beggs quarterback could have easily had the top passing performance in the postseason, which is currently held by Regent Prep's Parker Smith, who threw for 551 yards and 7 TDs in a loss to Kremlin-Hillsdale in 2016.

Spring's previous two-best passing performances this season were 298 yards against Okmulgee and 297 yards against Checotah.

While Spring dominated Sulphur offensively, the Beggs defense frustrated Sulphur QB Dawson Muck throughout the contest, forcing errant passes that resulted in several overthrows or incompletions, as well as bringing the Bulldog signal caller down behind the line of scrimmage on several occasions.

Junior defensive end T.J. Austin came up with the biggest defensive play of the game for Beggs when the 220-pound defender sacked Muck for a 4-yard loss on 4th and 4 with 4:07 left in regulation.

Austin's sack, along with successful running by the Beggs offense in the final four minutes, proved to be the deciding factor in the Demons' reaching the state title game this Friday.

In last Friday's semifinal game against Sulphur, the Demons struck first with 2:55 left in the opening quarter. The opening scoring came on Beggs' second offensive series of the contest, which began at the Beggs 23 with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

The Demons covered the 77 yards in nine plays, taking 2:38 off the clock with the final play coming on a 28-yard TD pass from Spring to E.J. Smoot. The try for two was unsuccessful, giving the Beggs squad the early 6-0 advantage.

Sulphur responded with a 3-play, 64-yard, drive that ended with 1:50 remaining in the opening frame on a 7-yard TD run by Tavius McDonald. Bradley Vinyard's successful PAT kick put the Bulldogs in front 7-6 after the first 12 minutes of action.

A 16-yard run by Vinyard at 10:19 in the second quarter gave Sulphur a 13-6 margin. The Sulphur score came following a Beggs fumble at the Beggs 41 with 1:32 left in the first stanza.

On the ensuing offensive series, the Demons went on a 3-play, 57-yard, scoring drive to cut the deficit to one, 13-12, with 9:49 remaining in the first half. The scoring drive featured a 43-yard strike to Kobe Haynes on the second play that set up the Demons with a 1st and Goal situation at the Sulphur 1. Spring then dove across the goal line on the next play for the 1-yard TD run. The try for two was once again unsuccessful, making it a 13-12 contest.

After the Beggs defense forced a Sulphur punt with 8:17 left in the second quarter, the Demons marched 66 yards in nine plays for the go-ahead score at the 5:14 mark. A pass interference penalty on Sulphur on 4th down kept the scoring drive alive, setting up the Demons with a 1st and Goal at the Sulphur 9. On the very next play, the Demons pulled a double-reverse run play out of their playbook with Smoot racing into the end zone from nine yards out to put Beggs in front 18-13.

See Beggs on B4

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