Augusta clinches a home field playoff game for the first time since 2014.
EL DORADO — A rarely called penalty changed the game. The officials called Gavin Bell for an illegal formation call as he wore No. 90 all season long but would no more in this game.
The call moved the El Dorado Wildcats from the Augusta one-yard line back to the six-yard line.
“I wouldn’t put this loss on the officials,” El Dorado head coach Wes Bell said. “There were many other opportunities. The game wasn’t decided on that one play.”
El Dorado would turn it over on downs and two plays later Hunter Anderson ran 89 yards for the touchdown and the ball game.
“It did change the game,” Bell said. “That’s my error on the jersey.”
Augusta beat county rival El Dorado 10-6 to clinch their first home playoff game since 2014 but it was not without trial and error.
It’s Augusta’s fourth straight win over El Dorado, dating back to 2011.
Augusta ends the regular season 3-5 while El Dorado is 2-6.
“We’re lucky to get a win tonight,” Augusta head coach Jason Filbeck said. “El Dorado is young and aggressive. We didn’t play well offensively.”
The Orioles didn’t need to play well offensively as it was their defense who was stout. Outside of the third quarter drive, it was a defense that refused to give up. Time and time again, the Augusta defense stepped up.
“We trust our defense,” Sophomore Hunter Anderson said.
The Orioles struggled to move the ball much of the game, especially in the first half. It was a failed fourth down attempt, giving the Orioles exceptional field position to start the drive.
10 plays later, it would be Tyler Kohls, who hit the 24-yard field goal with 4:33 to go in the first half.
“Their defense is really aggressive, much respect to them,” Anderson said. “Honestly, we were really prepared for them in the first half.”
Augusta led 10-0 at halftime.
The Wildcats took the opening kickoff of the second half and march down the field methodically. They dove, pitched and clawed for every yard. They ate up more than six minutes on the drive and finally found the end zone. After a holding play called back a big run by Gannon White, it was a senior who stepped up. Jake Knowles ripped it around the right side, splitting two Oriole defenders and dove into the end zone to get on the board for the Wildcats. El Dorado pulled within 10-6 with 5:50 to go in the third.
Augusta’s defense never broke after that. They would bend but never break.
“This is what we do in practice, we want to wear out their offense,” Anderson said. “We knew what they could do it when it was needed.”
Only once would the Wildcats have it in Augusta territory in the second half but only one score would come of it. El Dorado’s lack of a passing game became their demise as the Orioles packed the box and had an answer for every Wildcat shot. Penalties helped as well.
Kohls came up big for Augusta in the fourth quarter. After another drive stalled out and Augusta had just a 12-yard punt on their previous possession, it was Kohls who redeemed himself. A 38-yard punt pinned the Wildcats at their own six-yard line with 8:51 to go in the game.
El Dorado’s final gasp came on another time-consuming drive. They drove down to the 45-yard line of Augusta before it stalled out. It was a host of Augusta defensive players who helped stope the drive. Eventually with 1:36 on a fourth and long, the Wildcats came up empty, fumbling on the play. It was recovered, ending chance of an El Dorado comeback.
El Dorado will have to travel to Winfield for a rematch to start the Class 4A playoffs. They’ll be the No. 13 seed.
“It was ugly, but we squeezed out the win,” Anderson. “That’s all that matters.”
Augusta will now prepare for Coffeyville next week.
Augusta 0 10 0 0 -- 10
El Dorado 0 0 6 0 -- 6
2ND AUG – 89-YD TD run by Hunter Anderson (kick is good).
2ND AUG – 20-YD FG is good by Tyler Kohls
3RD ELDO – 7-YD TD run by Garrett Meyers (2PAT is no good).