JENKS – It was not a perfect performance, but Owasso did deliver a championship level effort on Saturday night.
Now the Rams are just one win away from claiming the ultimate prize in Class 6AI.
No. 1 Owasso built an early three-touchdown lead over Broken Arrow and looked like it might run the No. 2-ranked Tigers off the field. But the Tigers showed the grit of a defending champion not ready to give up their crown as BA rallied with 17 unanswered points. The Rams then mounted their two biggest offensive series of the season and pulled out a 42-27 victory in a state semifinal inside Allan Trimble Stadium in Jenks.
With the win, Owasso (12-0) will go for its second gold ball in three seasons when it takes on No. 3 Jenks (8-4) Saturday, Dec. 7, in Edmond.
“It feels good,” said senior quarterback Cole Dugger, who completed 20-of-25 passes for 368 yards and accounted for five touchdowns. “There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it. It feels good when it pays off.”
Dugger accounted for three scores in the first half as Owasso look like it might cruise to a season sweep over the Tigers.
Sophomore Jacob Clifton scored his first varsity touchdown in the first quarter when he picked up a fumbled punt for a 5-yard touchdown. Tristan Profit forced the giveaway when he drilled BA punter Tyler Crawford, after a bobbled snap, near the Ram goal line.
Junior linebacker Brenden Dye recovered a fumble after Andre King sacked quarterback Jake Raines with 7:40 left in the second quarter. Two plays later, Payton Lusk’s 49-yard reception led to Dugger’s 3-yard scoring run which gave the Rams a 28-7 lead.
“I have to get my energy up so everybody else gets up,” Dye said of Owasso’s early surge on defense.
BA (9-3) climbed to within 28-14 at halftime after Maurion Horn hauled in a 45-yard TD pass from Jake Raines. The Tigers got a field goal then swung momentum in their favor when Dugger was stripped of the ball, which Campbell Yeager returned for an 8-yard touchdown.
Suddenly, Owasso’s once comfortable margin had tightened to 28-24 with 4:29 left in the third.
“Good football teams make runs,” said Rams coach Bill Blankenship. “That’s a good football team over there. They’ve won a bunch of games.”
Owasso did not flinch as it responded with a clutch nine-play, 80-yard march. Trey Goins got things going with a 26-yard grab. Derrick Overstreet and Emaud Triplett churned out yards on the ground before Ronnie Thomas made a diving catch for a 13-yard grab in the endzone on the first play of the fourth quarter.
It marked the fifth receiving TD in the last four games for Thomas.
BA countered with a field goal to make the score 35-27 before Mario Kirby helped Owasso throw the final haymaker with a 71-yard scoring catch and run. Dugger found Kirby, who had been hobbled in the second half, in the flat and the senior tight end ran untouched the rest of the way.
“I went to the outside and looked for the ball,” said Kirby, who has a TD in each of the last three games against the Tigers. “Everybody just disappeared in front of me.”
The Ram defense held BA on downs with less than five minutes remaining and the offense was able to run out the remaining clock.
Already playing without Isaiah Jacobs in the backfield, Owasso lost Lusk in the second half as well due to an apparent leg injury.
“It did not come easy,” Blankenship said. “And I think those are the most rewarding kind of victories when you get to fight, claw and scratch.”