GUTHRIE – It was a tough, unexpected end to Noble’s season.

With expectations high heading into the playoffs, Noble wanted to make a deep playoff run in Class 5A. But, the stalwart Guthrie Bluejays (10-1) put an end to those dreams on Friday night with a 40-0 victory.

After trampling through opponents in the regular season – putting up an 8-2 record and touting one of the best passing attacks in the state of Oklahoma – Guthrie put an end to the Bears’ offensive dominance. With two interceptions, a forced fumble and six stops on fourth down – with three of those coming inside the 20 yard line – Guthrie held the Bears scoreless.

Noble had a few chances to score, but a dominant Guthrie defense was able to keep the Bears at bay. Trevor Wardrip, a top weapon in the Bears offense, also went out with an injury in the first half.

“We got inside the 20-yard line three times there in the first quarter,” Noble head coach Greg George said. “We just couldn’t get a first down, couldn’t make the connection and it just wasn’t our night. We weren’t making plays that we normally make, then we lost [Trevor Wardrip] and that’s a 1,500 yard receiver. That’s no excuse, (and the) next guy’s got to step up and we just couldn’t make the plays we needed to make... hats off to Guthrie for their physical play.”

Junior wide receiver and cornerback Brandon Harper was the only sign of life for the Bears in the game. Garnering 10 receptions for 92 yards, alongside a fumble recovery and two interceptions in the game, Harper made plays for the Bears, but their offensive miscues were too much to overcome.

At halftime, trailing 17-0, George was hoping to create opportunities for Harper on the perimeter.

“(We were) trying to get Brandon in some one-on-one matchups (after halftime),” George said. “He’s got 1,500 yards receiving… and if you get him over there on the single side and things like that, he can make plays. But our guys got to do a better job. You know, we didn’t run the ball like we normally do and hats off to Guthrie. Those guys are good and their front seven is physical.”

The Guthrie defense also made things tough on Noble quarterback Colin Fisher. The junior threw two interceptions that resulted in two scoring plays by Guthrie’s Jackson Walters for 35 yards and Zach Henry for 37 yards in the first and third quarter, respectively. Fisher was also stuffed just short of the goal-line on fourth down in the first quarter.

As the Bears pivot to the offseason, George wants his team to bring toughness and physical energy into next season’s training camp. With returning players like Harper, Fisher and Devon Night, there’s hope that the Bears can put together another successful season in 2022.

“They have to understand they have to live in that weight room,” George said. “The goal is to get their bodies where they can go compete every Friday night. And, you know, those are things we got to make sure our kids are doing.”

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