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Indians use balanced attack to beat Madill

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

PLAINVIEW — The success or struggles at the beginning of a season usually have a lot to do with how a squad does as the year progresses, but that’s not always the case.

The Plainview High School football team knows that, especially after the Indians picked up their second straight victory Friday night in a 32-24 decision over Madill.

“(These two wins are) a big confidence boost that lets us know that we’re overcoming some adversity that we had early in the season,” said Plainview head coach Joe Price. “We’re just getting some things rolling. We just have to continue to work on the things that we need to get better at.”

The Indians started off 2020 with four straight setbacks, but they’ve bounced back and a lot of that has to do with taking strides offensively. Plainview installed a new offense two weeks ago and it’s helped the running game find success.

Caden Pickens proved that with 165 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Wildcats. The junior running back scored on a 66-yard scamper in the second quarter and broke a number of tackles all night.

“I want to shout out running back coach Phillip Tweedy,” Pickens said. “Every day in practice, we work on staying up and running through arm tackles. It’s just a big key.”

However, it wasn’t all Pickens as Jeston Gilliam and Blue Norman combined for 108 yards and a touchdown. Gilliam tallied his score on a one-yard run in the first quarter.

“We made some big plays tonight and we were able to get some of our playmakers the ball,” Price said. “They were able to make good runs. (Caden) Pickens had a good night running the football. We have to make sure we just continue to get better at some of the little things.”

Indians quarterback Grant Graves has shown he can make improvements as the sophomore went 7-of-12 for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Graves found Norman on a seven-yard score in the second quarter and connected on a 24-yard touchdown strike to Gilliam in the third.

“Grant has continued to get better in that aspect of his game,” Price said of throwing the ball. “Our kids are doing a good job of helping him out by going and getting the ball for him. Morgan (Pearson) is one of those kids that you can put the ball in the area, and he’ll go get it. That’s a good safety net for a quarterback.”

Pearson finished with four receptions for 64 yards, while also adding 23 yards rushing on a pair of carries.

Meanwhile on the other sideline, Madill saw a late rally come up short. The Wildcats trailed 25-3 with 9:07 remaining in the third quarter, but they rattled off 15 straight points to make it a ball game.

The highlight of Madill’s comeback was Nick Northcutt’s 42-yard double reverse touchdown pass to quarterback Kendall Robertson. It stunned the Plainview faithful and appeared to shift the momentum in the Wildcats’ favor.

“It was the right situation at the right time,” Madill head coach Chad Speer said of the trick play. “We’ve been working on it for a few weeks, maybe a month. It was the right time, right place and right situation. Our kids did a great job of executing because there are a lot of moving parts and moving pieces on that thing. It takes all 11 guys to execute something like that — it’s not just one or two guys.”

But the big play and late rally weren't enough, even with the Wildcats scoring a touchdown with 1:36 remaining that accounted for the final tally.

Madill (2-4 overall, 1-2 District 3A-2) hosts Pauls Valley (3-3, 1-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, while the Indians (2-4, 2-1) make the short trek to Lone Grove (4-2, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Thursday.