By Andy Newberry
June 18, 2016

The East found its running game in the second half only to see it erased when Taylor Massey and the West pulled off some final-minute magic.

The West scored on the final play of regulation and with a two-point conversion–both catches by Jansen Martinez of Childress–to send the game into overtime.

But in overtime, the East remembered what got it there.

The East went right back to what worked in the fourth quarter:  defense and a running game.  Dalton Baretel, of Muenster, picked off Massey on the third play of OT, and three plays later, Cody Fletcher scored a walk-off touchdown from 7 yards out to give the East a 20-14 OT win in the 79th Annual Oil Bowl at Memorial Stdium.

Darrien Fleeks, of Rider, got stronger as the game wore on and ended as the game’s leading rusher with 68 yards in 12 carries.  He had 44 on his last four carries, including a 6-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.  His first two carries of overtime went for 8 and 10 yards.

Then he took a breather for one play, which was enough for Fletcher, who also played a ton of defense in the all-star game, to end it.

“It was great to win it in overtime,” Fletcher said. “I had faith in my line on that last play and trusted them to get in the end zone.”

“I gave my team my all, but once they scored that touchdown (on the final play), I was like, ‘I gotta give them some more, ‘” Fleeks said.  “I ran out of breath and had to let my boy from Henrietta–Cody–run that in.

“We balled hard.  It was a good game.”

The East finished with 201-78 edge in rushing yards.  They got 59 of that on the first play of the game on a 59-yard reverse by Brandon Ingram.

Massey and the West accounted for the only score in a 6-0 first half as he fired a 28-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Higgins, of Wichita Falls High School (Midwestern State), in the second quarter.

Up to that point, Massey’s damage had been on the ground with third-down scrambles of 15 and 10 yards to move the chains.  But on third-and-six, he went the dropback passer route and hit Higgings in stride on a post.  The Old High star shed two would-be tackles to stride in for the first West TD in the  game since 2014.

The East was inside of the West 20-yard line on three possessions but chose to go for it on fourth down each time instead of trying a field goal.

The second half also didn’t feature kickers, except for two PATs by Kevin Stallcup of Bowie that proved to be crucial.

Massey got the ball back for the last time, trailing 14-6 with 2:53 left.  He hit seven of nine passe3s for 83 yards on the game-tying drive.  But it was him as a decoy out in the flat that led to the touchdown as running back Zai Zai Smith, of Stamford, looked for Massey, scanned the other side of the field and hit Martinez for a 5-yard touchdown.

After a timeout, everyone seemed to know Massey was going to the right side but he pulled up and found Martinez for two points anyway.”

“He’s a great player.  I’ve seen it before–he can really run the ball, and he’s fast,” Fletcher said.  “We all thought he was going to run the ball, and he popped up and threw it.”

The East made it two straight wins after a 7-3 victory in 2015.

79th Oil Bowl
East 20, West 14 (OT)
West 0 6 0 8 0 — 14
East 0 0 7 7 6 — 20

W–Rodney Higgins 28 pass from Taylor Massey (kick failed) 9:29

E–Riley Watson 1 run (Kevin Stallcup kick) 8:16

E–Darrien Fleeks 6 run (Stallcup kick) 2:54
W–Jansen Martinez 5 pass from Zai Zai Smith (Martinez pass from Massey)

E–Cody Fletcher 7 run

West East
First downs 18 12
Rushes-Yards 40-78  30-201
Passing 170 62
Comp-Att-Int 16-30-1 10-21-1
Punts 5-33.2  2-45
Fumbles-Lost 3-1  0-0
Penalties-Yards  6-43  4-45

Individual statistics

RUSHING–West, Markeis Lee 7-31; Zai Zai Smith 4-23; Caleb Lindley 8-23;
East, Darrien Fleeks 12-68; Brandon Ingram 2-61.

PASSING–West, Taylor Massey 12-24-1, 142; Smith 1-1-10, 5; Lee 3-6-0, 32.
East, Derrick Ponder 10-18-0, 62

RECEIVING–West, Hunter Martinez 8-52; Cole Oxford 2-40; Jansen Martinez 2-28; Rodney Higgins 1-18.
East, Logan Carter 1-28; Travis Taylor 1-24.