CENTERTON, Arkansas — Owasso needed a fourth-quarter rally to knock off Bentonville (Arkansas) West in last year’s season opener.
Traveling to Wolverine Stadium on Friday night, the Class 6AI No. 2 team again was able to turn up the heat at the most opportune time. Owasso scored the final 28 points — including three touchdowns in the fourth quarter — as it pulled away for a 47-34 win.
“We couldn’t get out of our way in the first half,” Owasso coach Bill Blankenship said. “Then we made all the plays you have to make to get back in a game.”
Quarterback Cole Dugger, making his Ram debut, completed 20-of-30 passes for 327 yards and three TDs. He also ran for a 2-yard score in the final minute of the third quarter that began the comeback.
Special teams were problematic for the Rams throughout the game until Tristan Profit blocked a Wolverine punt early in the fourth quarter. Brendan Dye scooped up the free ball and returned it for a 4-yard touchdown that closed the gap to 34-32.
Profit credited coach Jake Bray with the punt block call and teammates Andre King and Dye with eating up blocks, which enabled him a free run at the punter.
“It worked out perfectly,” Profit said. “Those are the little things people don’t see.”
Running back Isaiah Jacobs ran for 188 yards on 24 carries, including a 61-yard scamper with 9:04 remaining that gave the Rams a lead they would not relinquish.
“We just started to calm down and eliminate the mental mistakes,” Jacobs said of Owasso’s second-half play.
Even with the late surge, the Rams still caught a break when an inadvertent whistle negated a fumble that would have given West possession in Owasso territory with 4:25 remaining.
Instead, the Rams took advantage of their good fortune when they slammed the door on a Wolverine rally after defensive tackle Kameron Bland recovered a West fumble in the end zone for a score with 50 seconds left.
Bentonville West scored three times, aided by a pair of mistakes in the Ram kicking game early in the second quarter, and took a 27-19 lead into halftime.’
AJ Moss blocked an Owasso punt, which teammate Brandon Humes picked up and ran back 45 yards for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead with 6:33 left in the second quarter. A 4-yard Ram punt gave the Wolverines possession at the Owasso 30. On the next play, Luke Miller zoomed 30 yards on a jet sweep for a 20-6 advantage.
“We fouled up some protections and we had a punter (Tate Farley) who had never been in a game,” Blankenship said. “I think that actuated the nerves a bit. Once we got that fixed, Tate did a great job in the second half.”
Owasso answered with two quick scores. Dugger found Kelan Carney for a 47-yard TD strike, followed by a 27-yard pass to Mario Kirby and cut the deficit to 20-19. Jonas Higson gave West the eight-point halftime cushion with a 14-yard run with 14 seconds remaining.
Kirby led Ram receivers with six catches for 136 yards.