By SHAWN YORKS and JASON EPP
• Daily Leader
These Terriers do, in fact, bite.
The Beaver Dusters made the 300-mile round trip to Thomas, Okla. on Thursday night, and came back to Beaver County licking their wounds after a 34-14 district setback.
Beaver falls to 7-1 and Thomas improves to 7-1. But more importantly, Thomas is 5-0 in district with games against Texhoma (3-5, 2-3) and Mooreland (3-5, 2-3) remaining. Beaver drops to 4-1 in the district standings with games against Fairview (2-6, 1-4) and Turpin (5-3, 3-2) left on its plate.
“All the credit goes to Thomas,” said Beaver head coach Mike McVay. “They’re every bit as good as advertised. They’re the best football team we’ve seen.
“They’re big. They’re fast. They’re quick. They can run it, and they can throw it.”
For the first time this season, the Dusters were out-manned.
“I think our kids played hard, and we missed some opportunities early; had the ball inside their 20 and came up short twice — two drives in a row,” McVay said.
Beaver went for it twice on fourth-and-short and missed it both times. And both times, Thomas capitalized with lengthy drives for touchdowns.
“It kind of took us out of the game early.” McVay said. “We just ran into a little better football team than us.”
Beaver had difficulties with Thomas’ spread offense, even though it was a pretty basic set.
“You know what’s coming, but they just outmanned us up front and they’d hit that crease and kept the football from us,” McVay said. “They cashed in when they got scoring opportunities, and we couldn’t answer back.
Thomas should win the district championship with remaining games against Mooreland and Texhoma — both 3-5 overall. Although the Terriers have to travel Wheatbowl Stadium in Texhoma, it’s longest trip of the season and always a tough place to play.
Beaver should take second, with games against cellar-dweller Fairview at home next week. A season-ending trip to Turpin could present some problems, as the Cardinals are in the thick of the playoff race.
So, with both teams playoff-bound, there could be a chance they’d meet somewhere down the line. Just like the good old days.
“I can already think of a few things I’d do different if we played them tomorrow that would possibly give us an advantage in a couple of areas,” McVay said. “It’s going to take a well-rounded football team to beat them.”
The key for Beaver is to move on, regroup, and concentrate on matters at hand.
“Our goal now is to forget about this one — learn from it — but go take care of business the next two weeks, and get into the first round of the playoffs,” McVay said. “We’re going to concentrate on Fairview right now, and get ready for them.”