On first down, in a 20-20 game in overtime, Guthrie Head Coach Kelly Beeby sent out his senior kicker for a chance to win the Bluejays first playoff game in four years.
With two big field goal makes under his belt, David Vargas trotted on to the field looking to nail his third, this one from 27-yards out. With the hopes of keeping the season alive, Vargas didn’t flinch, sending the ball through the uprights to push the Bluejays to the second round. The Guthrie sideline rushed the field and celebrated with Vargas at midfield in front of a stunned Duncan crowd. Vargas has now made seven field goals this season, but none have been bigger than this one. It was a play that Vargas will remember forever.
“This is great, I’ll never forget that moment,” Vargas said. “I just want to thank my coaches for giving me a shot to end the game. I just want to thank Coach Meshew and Coach Beeby for giving me a shot.”
The game will be remembered as the one where Vargas sealed the win, but before he was able to deliver the kick, the Bluejays had many memorable plays to set it up.
Trailing 13-3 at halftime, Guthrie turned to its tempo offense to get into a rhythm. Vargas started the second half with a 43-yard field goal to pull the Bluejays within a possession with 6:46 to go in the third quarter.
Five minutes later, quarterback Jackson Waddell found Marcellus Owens on a slant route from five-yards out to tie the game up at 13 apiece with 1:38 to go in the quarter.
With 11:10 to play, Josh Rains put the Bluejays on top 20-13, capping the drive with a one-yard run. With the Rains run, that made it 17 unanswered points by the Bluejay offense.
With 6:37 to go, on first and 10 from the Demons own 15 yard line, Duncan connected on a 85-yard touchdown to tie the game up at 20.
After the Bluejay offense stalled on its next possession, Duncan got the ball back on the Guthrie 41 with 4:20 to play. The Demons were able to get the ball down to the Bluejays 20-yard line to set up a game-winning field goal with 52 seconds remaining. Owens surged around the left side of the line and was able to get a hand on the kick, deflecting it enough to send the game into overtime.
The Demons started with the ball in overtime. After a short run, Duncan attempted a slant route into the end zone but Hector Goosby was able to adjust on the ball before knocking it away from the receivers hands. On third down, Campbell Leach broke through the line and batted the Duncan pass into the air before intercepting it to give the ball back to the offense.
With the ball and four chances at ending the game, Beeby said the decision to kick was a no-brainer.
“David is an outstanding kicker,” Beeby said. “There was no hesitation once we came up with the big play by Campbell. David is such a cool under pressure guy, which a good kicker has to be.”
If the snap would’ve been botched on the field goal, Waddell was instructed to take a knee and they’d try again. Vargas only needed one try.
The win by the Bluejays means a lot to these seniors, a group that had never been out of the first round of the playoffs. Beeby says he knew this team was ready to take the next step.
“I’m so proud of these kids and these coaches,” Beeby said. “I told them before the game that this was better than a first round playoff team. We needed to take the next step with this bunch right here and we challenged them to look around the room and understand that this team will never be together again and they had 48 minutes to change it.”
The win advances Guthrie to the second round of the playoffs as they will travel to undefeated Collinsville who routed Ada 41-7 in their home playoff opener.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.