Clutch kick lifts East Central over Central
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Saturday, October 08, 2011
10/08/11 at 5:08 AM
During spring practice in May, East Central coach Travis Hill expressed confidence that Mitch Mora would be more than an adequate replacement for graduated All-State kicker Antonio Escobedo.
On Friday night, Hill's confidence was rewarded as Mora kicked three field goals, including the winner from 25 yards on the second overtime's final play, to lift top-ranked East Central past visiting No. 6 Central 16-13 in a District 5A-4 showdown at the East Side Sports Complex.
Hill elected for Mora to kick on third down after the Cardinals (6-0, 3-0 5A-4) blocked a Central 20-yard field goal to open the second OT.
"There's a difference between kicking the ball through the uprights and kicking them through when you have to make them and Mitch did a great job," Hill said. "He had a lot of confidence in what he was going to do."
Mora, a senior, had not kicked a winning field goal previously but had seen Escobedo do it several times over the previous two seasons.
"I wasn't nervous," said Mora, who entered the game with two field goals this season. "Antonio taught me a lot. He taught me how to keep under control. He taught me almost everything - he and my coach, Coach (Mike) Gambill. I also want to credit my snapper (Blake Perry) and my holder (Cody Adair)."
Mora's counterpart, Central's Marlon Drew, kicked a 33-yard field goal with 1.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into OT tied at 10. That capped a 46-yard drive that came after East Central took the lead for the first time on John McDavid's 37-yard touchdown bomb to Deontre Youngblood with 2:17 remaining.
On Central's tying drive, it appeared momentarily that the Braves had regained the lead on Milton Harper's 41-yard TD to Kejuan Daniels with 46 seconds left, but the play was wiped out due to an illegal shift. Central hurt itself with 16 official penalties during the game.
East Central also was called for a penalty so the fourth-and-8 was replayed. Harper then gained 17 on a draw to the 24. A dead-ball personal foul moved the Braves closer and they had to scramble to get Drew on the field for the tying kick.
In the first OT, Mora kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Cardinals a 13-10 lead. Central (5-1, 2-1) lost yardage on its series and had to settle for Drew's 32-yard field goal that tied the game again.
"It was a crazy last few minutes," Hill said. "Let's give a lot of credit to the Central Braves, and they played a very good football game. It's a good win."
Central led for most of regulation after scoring on its first offensive play. Tyron Garth took Harper's screen pass and raced 71 yards for a TD that gave Central a 7-0 lead. Garth, however, missed much of the game after suffering a shoulder injury.
Later in the first period, the Braves missed two good opportunities to expand their lead. The first ended as they turned the ball over on downs at East Central's 25. Damico Bowens ended the second with a fourth-down interception at the Cardinals 11.
East Central cut its deficit to 7-3 on Mora's 28-yard field goal with 8:09 left in the second quarter.
The Braves protected that lead against 5A's No. 1 team until Youngblood's TD catch late in the fourth quarter.
"We knew it would be a good game," Central coach Dan Phillips said. "I hope we made enough noise to draw some respect and show that we're definitely a contender. We're just trying to keep our minds right and go to the next one. It's a tough loss, no doubt, but we'll be resilient and get past this."
East Central 16, Central 13, 2OT
Central 7 0 0 3 3 0 - 13
East Central 0 3 0 7 3 3 - 16
C: Garth 71 pass from Harper (Drew kick)
EC: FG, Mora 28G
EC: Youngblood 37 pass from McDavid (Mora kick)
C: FG, Drew 33
EC: FG, Mora 20
C: FG, Drew 32
EC: FG, Mora 25
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
East Central quarterback John McDavid is tackled by Central's Delton Forrester during the Cardinals' win Friday. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
East Central's Lattarius McGoy tackles Central's Danny Jones. JAMES GIBBARD/ Tulsa World
East Central's William Goree loses the ball as he's tackled by Central's Dwaylen Taylor (left) and Micah Ponder during their double-overtime game Friday night. JAMES GIBBARD/ Tulsa World