The Stilwell Indians concluded their 100th year of football with a victory against the same team they picked up their first win against back in 1921, the Sallisaw Black Diamonds. Stilwell dominated their arch-rivals with a 47-22 win on Friday night at James Bradley Memorial Athletic Park in Stilwell.

Ethan Richards rushed for 292 yards on 17 carries and Cainan Mink added 136 yards on 16 carries to help the Indians establish a new school record for Most Rushing Yards in a Game with a total of 479.  

After receiving the opening kickoff, Sallisaw was leveled by Stilwell’s defense which held the Black Diamonds to just four yards on their first three plays of the game to force a punt.

The Indian offense took over at their own 16-yard line and would mount an impressive drive of the remaining eighty-four yards in thirteen plays to make a quick opening statement. Junior Ethan Richards got his first start at running back, filling in for senior Adam Phillips who was sidelined for the final game of his career. Richards ran for nine yards on the first play. Junior quarterback Cainan Mink had runs of 14 and 13 yards and threw a 23-yard strike to junior wide receiver Dalton Christie to move Stilwell into the shadows of the Sallisaw goal post. A 12-yard run by Mink to the Black Diamond 7-yard line set the stage for the first score of the game, a 7-yard run by Richards.  The extra point sailed wide, but the Indians had taken a 6-0 lead with 6:50 remaining in the first period.

After another impressive showing by the Indian defensive corps forced a four-and-out by the Black Diamonds, Stilwell took over on their own 25. This time, the Indians would maintain possession for only 1:41, but still managed to cover the yardage necessary to hit pay dirt once again. Mink ran through the middle of the Sallisaw defense on a 30-yard draw to move the ball into the Sallisaw end of the field. Richards ran for 40-yards to the Black Diamond 6 where Mink would again call his own number for a 6-yard TD. Second year dead coach Don Harrison elected to go for two and the call was a good one, with Mink hitting sophomore Tray Chuculate in the end zone to put Stilwell up 14-0 with 3:43 left in the first.

A duo of Freshman dashed the hopes of a Sallisaw comeback on the ensuing kickoff with kicker Kason Dowty booting a spinning ball that slipped through the hands of the Black Diamond would-be fielder and onto the James Bradley grass where Freshman Peyton Harrison fell on the fumble to give the Indians their best field position of the night at the Sallisaw 35.

Dazed and confused, the Black Diamond defense was no match for the speed of Richards who raced 28 yards through the left side of the line and jitterbugged his way to the middle of the field where he was finally brought down at the three. Two plays later Mink scored his second TD of the game on another run up the middle, behind his offense line of seniors Bryar Thurber and Malachi Duncan, juniors Kylar Robertson and Blake Crozier and sophomore Dace Teehee, to give Stilwell a commanding 20-0 first period lead.

The Black Diamonds tried their best to put some points on the board, moving the ball as far as the Indians 11-yard line. The Stilwell seniors weren’t going to budge however, with Thurber crashing the line and dropping the Sallisaw tailback for a three-yard loss and Duncan batting away a pass on third down. The Black Diamonds went for broke and tried for a TD on fourth down, but the Indians had the Diamond receivers covered like blankets, forcing a hopeful heave to fall harmlessly into the end zone.

The Indians were able to move into Sallisaw territory, thanks in part to a diving, juggling reception by Chuculate at midfield on a third down bomb from Mink that was good for 35 yards.  Stilwell eventually elected to punt and Mink showed off his kicking leg with a perfect spiral into the endzone for a touchback. Sophomores Chuculate and Malachi McNac delivered big plays on the next defensive stand for Stilwell and once again, the Black Diamonds were forced to punt.

This time, the Indians needed only three plays to find the goal line. Mink started things with a 4-yard keeper and Richards followed with another long run, this time for 19-yards to the Sallisaw 24-yard line.

Mink rolled out to his left on the next play and faked a Sallisaw defender off his feet with a pump of his arm. With his path now clear, the Junior quarterback, who before this season had last started a game at QB as an eighth grader at Zion, sprinted 25-yards for his second score of the game. Richards ran untouched into the Diamond end zone for the two-point conversion. The Stilwell Indians and their fans whooped in joy and Sallisaw and their fans looked up in stunned silence at a scoreboard that read “Home 28 Visitor 0” with 2:21 remaining in the first half.

The Indian defense remained relentless in the closing moments of the half with Thurber, Crozier and junior Jaston Chronister applying pressure on the Black Diamond offense. McNac sacked the Sallisaw quarterback, jarring the ball loose for a fumble that was recovered by Duncan.

Stilwell looked like they were about to add yet another TD after Mink hit Richards on a pass good for 27-yards, but penalties would put an end to the Indian threat and Stilwell entered the final intermission of the season, and their 1,009th game, with a lead of 28-0.

The Black Diamonds rolled the dice on the opening kickoff of the second half with an onside kick attempt. That was foiled when Crozier easily corralled the ball into his hands at the 50. Just one play later, Ethan Richards took a hand off from Mink, raced up the middle, then pivoted his direction towards the north sideline, where he found nothing but daylight. Richards raced untouched into the end zone for a 50-yard touchdown. With just 16 ticks gone off the clock, the Indians had their largest lead over a Sallisaw football team since 1958 at 34-0.

The Black Diamonds were finally able to put some points on the board thanks to an 11 play, 60-yard drive to make the score 34-8 at the 8:12 mark of the third quarter.

Sallisaw was unable to stop the Indians offensive juggernaut however, as Stilwell answered with a 4 play, 66-yard drive of their own. Richards started things off with a run of 9-yards. Mink hooked up with Chuculate once again, this time for a six yard gain before the junior QB kept the ball on another draw, this one good for a gain of 11. Richards scored for the second time in under six minutes with a 40-yard run down the home sideline and into the west end zone to put the Indians up 40-8.

The Black Diamonds finally got a huge play of their own, hitting on an 80 yard TD pass to cut the deficit to 40-15 with 5:51 remaining in the third period.

 After Richards, Mink, Chuculate and freshman Chalino Martinez helped the Indians run two and a half minutes off of the clock, Richards ended the scoring for the Indians with a 28-yard run between left tackle Crozier and senior receiver Jerimiah Chuculate to write his name in the history books as the player who scored the final touchdown of the first 100 years of Stilwell football. Dowty connected on the extra point to make the score 47-15.

Sallisaw would pick up a late touchdown on their final possession of the game to set the final score at 47-22 with Coach Harrison and his staff clearing the bench allowing everyone who was suited up to see some playing time in the historic finale.

Seniors Bryar Thurber, Malachi Duncan, Landon Robertson, Jeremiah Chuculate, Clayton Douglas, Tyler Cochran and Jake Workman saw action with two senior starters, Lyrix Howard and Adam Phillips enjoying the victory from the sideline. All nine members of the team were named as captains for the game.

With the win, the Indians finished in sixth place in District 4A-4 ahead of Sallisaw (1-9) and Tulsa McLain (0-10). Stilwell won their final two home games and completed the 2021 season with a final record of 2 wins and 7 losses.

 

Sallisaw  -    0    0   15   7   -   22

Stilwell   -  20    8   19   0   -   47

STIL – Ethan Richards 7 run (kick failed)

STIL – Cainan Mink 6 run (Tray Chuculate pass from Mink)

STIL – Mink 2 run (run failed)

STIL – Mink 24 run (Richards run)

STIL – Richards 50 run (kick failed)

SALL – Ashton Foster 4 run (Ce’Alm Kirkpatrick pass from Broque Ott)

STIL – Richards 40 run (pass failed)

SALL – Kirkpatrick 80 pass from Parker Jackson (Christian Taylor kick)

STIL – Richards 28 run (Kason Dowty kick)

SALL – Foster 47 run (Taylor kick)

 

                                          SALL                      STIL

First Downs                         14                           22

Rushes-Yards                   22/67                   48/479

Passing Yards                    234                          85

Comp-Att                          20-32                       4-10

Punts                                 3-31                       2-41

Fumbles-Lost                     4-2                          1-0

Penalties                            4-30                       8-71

Time of Possession          23:54                     24:06

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