Taylor, Cardinals topple Buffaloes
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, November 24, 2012
11/24/12 at 5:15 AM
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MUSKOGEE - Stanvon Taylor didn't want to remember East Central's Class 5A semifinal football game for his dropped pass late in the first half.
"That was a big drop. It could have helped the team," he said.
The University of Oklahoma commit was one of two Cards receivers who couldn't hold onto long passes from sophomore Tre'von Cherry late in the first half. Deontre Youngblood also had a key drop.
Taylor gave himself plenty of pleasant second-half memories Friday night, making the key plays as the top-ranked Cards finally got past No. 7 McAlester 26-14 before 3,000 chilled spectators at the Indian Bowl.
He caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Cherry on the second play of the third quarter, later recovered Youngblood's muffed punt and scored the clincher on a 57-yard run with 1:22 left.
With the Cards nursing a 20-14 lead and wary of giving the ball back to the dangerous Buffs one more time, offensive coordinator Jess Smith called for a flysweep right on third-and-9 from the Cards' 43.
Taylor was supposed to take a handoff from Cherry in the backfield and eat up as much time as possible, forcing the Buffs to use a timeout.
Instead, he cut against the flow, popped into an open secondary and sailed down the right side for a touchdown that pushed the Cards into next Saturday's 5A championship game vs. Carl Albert at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
"(The coaches) wanted to keep the clock running, but (McAlester's defenders) overplayed it real hard and I saw a big play, so I was thinking to myself, 'Just keep going hard,'" Taylor said.
Taylor's three touchdowns gave him 19 for the season. He also went over 1,000 receiving yards for the season with five catches for 101 yards.
Cherry threw for 204 yards as the Cards improved to 9-4 officially and unbeaten in 13 games, minus four forfeits for an ineligible player.
The Cards, who won a state title in 2005, advanced to play in the state championship game for the third time.
McAlester, which upset Edmond Deer Creek in last week's semifinal, finished at 8-5.
Led by junior quarterback Caden Pratt's 154 rushing yards on 39 carries, the Buffs gave the Cards all they wanted, driving 93 yards for the game's first score and driving 78 yards to take the game after Taylor's 47-yard scoring reception from Cherry had given the Cards a 14-7 lead.
McAlester drove to the Cards' 8 early in the fourth quarter, but a penalty cost them key yardage and Taeam Kang's 40-yard field goal attempt missed narrowly under the crossbar.
The Cards raced 80 yards to the go-ahead score. Cherry's 30-yard pass to Demontre Burkhalter to the McAlester 38 was the key play and William Goree capped the drive with an 11-yard run through the middle and East Central led 20-14.
Goree had 82 yards on 15 carries.
McAlester's next drive stopped at the Cards' 42, and Taylor's long run put the game out of reach.
EAST CENTRAL 26, McALESTER 14
M: Smith 6 run (Kang kick)
EC: Taylor 22 pass from Cherry (Youngblood pass from Cherry)
EC: Taylor 47 pass from Cherry (pass failed)
M: Pratt 19 run (Kang kick)
EC: Goree 11 run (run failed)
EC: Taylor 57 run (pass failed)
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
East Central's Brendan Ennis wraps up McAlester quarterback Caden Pratt. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World
East Central's William Goree looks for a hole in McAlester's defense. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World
East Central's Stanvon Taylor gets past McAlester's Tyler Curry and races into the end zone for a touchdown. BRETT ROJO/For the Tulsa World