Verdigris edges Metro Christian 23-20
BY JON POTTS World Correspondent
Saturday, October 13, 2012
10/13/12 at 4:48 AM
For more high school football stories.Original Print Headline: Cardinals edge Patriots, keep district hopes alive
VERDIGRIS - Fifth-ranked Verdigris edged sixth-ranked Metro Christian 23-20 in a District 3A-5 contest Friday night at Verdigris Stadium.
The Verdigris Cardinals (6-1, 2-1) kept their hopes of a district championship alive. They host Claremore Sequoyah Thursday and then finish the regular season with road games at Dewey and Sperry.
"It was a back and forth game," said Verdigris head coach Dan Nickles. "I was proud of our kids for finishing."
The Patriots (5-2, 2-1) are still in the mix for a district title, too. They host Sperry Thursday and close with road contests at Claremore Sequoyah and Berryhill.
Tanner Smith had another solid night for the Cardinals. The senior running back gained 153 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns.
"Tanner is one of the leaders of our team," Nickles said. "He is a four-year starter and gets a lot of respect from his teammates."
Patriot quarterback Matt Woolslayer passed for 158 yards and ran for 107 yards and one score.
Metro Christian closed its deficit to 20-14 on a trick play with seven minutes left. Woolslayer pitched to Alex Schmitz, who then fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Connor Drake.
Verdigris, however, responded with a score of its own. J.D. Hanslovan made a 29-yard field goal to make it 23-14 with 2:51 to play.
The Patriots got close again when Woolslayer scored from 3 yards out with 1:36 left.
Chase Bryant, however, recovered the ensuing onside kick and the Cardinals were able to run out the clock.
"The kids showed mental toughness and didn't relax tonight," Nickles said. "(Claremore Sequoyah) is going to be another big game. We have to be ready to go to work and try to get better each day."
Verdigris scored on Smith's first carry of the night, a 54-yard run at the 9:29 mark of the first period. The Cardinal defense had just held on fourth and inches.
Metro Christian had an opportunity after its defense recovered a fumble at the Verdigris 9 with 1:45 left in the first quarter.
The Cardinals, however, came up big as they intercepted a pass just over a minute later to thwart the Patriots.
Verdigris made it 13-0 on the first play of the second quarter when Dakota Brasher connected with Ryan Hurd on an 80-yard touchdown toss.
Metro Christian got on the board when Drake returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown with 7:20 remaining in the third period.
The ball appeared to have rolled dead but the whistle never blew and Drake alertly scooped up the pigskin and raced down the sideline unchallenged.
Smith pushed the lead to 20-7 after he scored from three yards out with 4:50 left in the third quarter. That touchdown came one play after the Patriots fumbled a punt.
VERDIGRIS 23, METRO CHRISTIAN 20
V: Smith 54 run (run failed)
V: Hurd 80 pass from Brasher (Hanslovan kick)
M: Drake 69 punt return (Lapo kick)
V: Smith 3 run (Hanslovan kick)
M: Drake 15 pass from Schmitz (kick blocked)
V: FG Hanslovan 29
M: Woolslayer 3 run (Lapo kick)
Verdigris' Leonard Brockup brings down Metro Christian quarterback Matt Woolslayer during their game Friday night at Verdigris. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Metro Christian's Alex Schmitz tackles Verdigris' Dakota Brasher during their game Friday night at Verdigris. Brasher threw for an 80-yard touchdown to Ryan Hurd in the second quarter. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World