Verdigris kicker's first FG a big one
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Monday, October 15, 2012
10/15/12 at 4:57 AM
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VERDIGRIS' J.D. HANSLOVAN was among the state's kicking leaders last season with eight field goals, including a long of 52.
This year, his first field goal didn't occur until Week 7, and it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Hanslovan's 30-yard field goal with 2:51 left proved to be the difference in Verdigris' 23-20 victory over Metro Christian. The victory enabled the Cardinals to remain at No. 5 in the Tulsa World's Class 3A rankings, while Metro Christian fell two slots to No. 8.
"This gives us the perfect chance to go as far as we want to go," Hanslovan said.
Verdigris kept alive its bid for a District 3A-5 title in a four-team scramble. A loss would have made it unlikely that Verdigris could host a first-round playoff game. Berryhill leads 3A-5 at 4-0, followed by Verdigris, Claremore Sequoyah and Metro Christian at 2-1. Verdigris hosts Claremore Sequoyah on Thursday.
"Right now, we're excited about playing Claremore Sequoyah," Hanslovan said.
Hanslovan's field goal increased Verdigris' lead to 23-13 and allowed the Cardinals to survive a late Patriots touchdown.
"Before I kicked it, Coach (Dan) Nickles said we would win if I made it, so I just tried to stay calm," Hanslovan said.
Hanslovan had attempted several field goals previously this season, but snapping and holding problems contributed to him being shut out before the winning kick.
Field goals have been a big factor in the 3A-5 race. Berryhill's Justin Dunn, who leads the state with eight field goals, made a 30-yarder with 10 seconds left to beat Verdigris 30-27 in Week 5. And Dunn's 26-yard field goal proved to be the difference in a 17-14 win over Claremore Sequoyah on Friday as Sequoyah missed a 25-yarder with 1:01 left.
Hanslovan isn't just making an impact as a kicker in his senior season. At linebacker, Hanslovan has 62 tackles after recording 115 last year. He had nine solo tackles and a fumble recovery against Metro.
His favorite athlete is Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
"He's a good inspirational speaker," Hanslovan said. "I listen to a tape of him before every game and that gets me ready to play."
Hanslovan also is starting as a running back for the first time and has 503 rushing yards on 52 carries and eight TDs. He's 3A's third-leading scorer with 84 points, behind teammate Tanner Smith (126) and Victory Christian's Cole Taylor (90).
"I like hitting people a lot, so linebacker has been my favorite position, but I'm starting to like being a running back," Hanslovan said.
Hanslovan's favorite TV show is A&E's "Duck Dynasty."
"I watch a lot of SportsCenter and don't watch much reality TV, but I like how they live on Duck Dynasty," Hanslovan said about the Robertson family that was poor but became wealthy due to its sales of duck calls. "They can do anything they want."
And so can the Cardinals if they keep winning thanks to Hanslovan's first field goal of 2012.
Catoosa survives: Tenth-ranked 4A Catoosa edged Vinita 13-12 on quarterback Austin Potter's 1-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter on Friday. After stopping Vinita's ensuing series, the Indians kept the ball for the final five minutes. Catoosa, which hosts Webster on Thursday, has won three in a row after a 1-3 start.
"The biggest thing for us is our defense is starting to really play well," Catoosa coach Aaron Meier said. "Cash Nuckolls has done very well the last two weeks at linebacker. He's a fast, tough kid. With our defense and the way we're able to pound the ball on the ground, I like what we're doing."
Titans prevail: McLain (5-2), which fell out of the 4A rankings last week after two straight losses, rebounded with a 41-20 win over Webster on Friday after being tied 20-20 at halftime. Demetri Walker passed for 277 yards and four TDs to lead the Titans. McLain's Bishop Louie had six catches for 137 yards and a TD. Nigel Carter added a 71-yard kickoff return for a TD. Quentin Nails had 13 tackles and Devyn Wilson added 12 to lead the Titans' defense.
"We woke up and everyone did their jobs in the second half," McLain coach Jarvis Payne Sr. said.
More Week 7 stars: Okemah's Kyle Britt had 15 carries for 247 yards and three TDs in a 41-20 win over Haskell. He has rushed for 961 yards and 15 TDs this season, and is averaging 16 yards per carry as a fullback. ...
Cleveland's Chas Stallard passed for four TDs and ran for another in a 41-0 victory over Miami. ...
Jay quarterback Shai Jones had 267 total yards and accounted for three TDs plus had an interception on defense in a 48-12 win over Westville. ...
Pawhuska running back Eddie Oyster had 175 total yards and three TDs in a 42-0 victory over Chouteau. ...
Verdigris linebacker Seth McLaughlin had nine solo tackles, including four sacks. ...
Wyandotte scored its most points since 1997 in its 72-28 win over Quapaw. Andrew Douthit had 19 carries for 185 yards and two TDs.
Verdigris' J.D. Hanslovan tries to escape Berryhill defenders Ty Walker (right) and Lane Hassenplug during their game last month. JAMES GIBBARD / Tulsa World