What a night for football! It was the same scene, act two for the Coweta Tiger attack which is getting better with each passing quarter of football.
All season they have been out scored in the first half, but battled back in the second half - especially on the road where they are undefeated.
On Friday, the Tigers trailed Tahlequah 21-7 then blasted through a hostile environment with five straight touchdowns to upset the 5A-3 champions, 42-21.
The win advances Coweta to the quarterfinals for the second straight season.
Wonder how tough district play was facing the top three finishers on the home turf? On Friday night, District 5A-3 teams totally eliminated 5A-4 teams with Kelley defeating Collinsville 27-0, Tulsa Edison defeating Pryor 55-27 and McAlester defeating Claremore 49-28 to complete the sweep.
Coweta will host Piedmont, who defeated El Reno 24-21, this coming Friday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. to keep the very interesting season going for the young and talented 6-5 Tigers.
Head Coach Tim Harper has worked from the very start of the campaign to show his athletes just how good they could be.
“One more win and we are practicing on Thanksgiving," Harper said after the game. "I love the way we played as a team. No one was looking for personal credit. I couldn’t be prouder! I will take 0-5 at home anytime to have wins like tonight on the road. Now we need to take it up another notch.
“We are 6-0 on the road and we don’t quit. We come up with big plays with a total team effort. It kept our season alive for our seniors. I love their heart.”
With a scoreless first period, the Tigers were backed up deep in their own territory most of the first half due to standout Tahlequah punting. They were just down 14-7 at intermission and both teams were feeling out possible advantages.
Halftime adjustments by Coweta once again set the tone for a storybook finish.
To open the second quarter, Tahlequah put the ball in star running back Dae Dae Leathers hands and four plays later he scored on a 15-yard sweep of the left end.
On the next possession, Tahlequah blocked a Coweta punt, taking possession at the Tiger 25. Leathers finished off the short drive with a three-yard dive with 5:53 left in the half for a 14-0 advantage.
Coweta started their next possession at their 34. The big play in the drive came from Gage Hamm who carried 11 yards for a first down at the Tahlequah 40 and set up a strike to Blake Lair for a 40-yard touchdown.
Brody Rucker kicked the first of seven straight extra points to cut the deficit in half.
Halftime statistics were close. Coweta recorded 97 passing yards, 33 rushing yards and a touchdown. Tahlequah passed for 39 yards and rushed for 76 and two touchdowns.
Leathers scored twice and had 11 carries for 42 yards.
Tahlequah took the second half kickoff and quickly marched for a three-yard touchdown by Leathers with 8:45 on the clock for a 21-7 advantage.
From that point on, the story line was all Coweta. The Tigers scored five straight touchdowns, intercepted two passes and sent the home crowd into shock for the second straight season.
On their very next possession, Hamm found Brent Barlow open over the middle for as 58-yard touchdown with 8:28 left. Coweta’s defense held Tahlequah on their next possession on a fourth-and-four situation to take the ball at their 34-yard line.
Mason Ford ran 19 yards for the key play on the possession to the Tahlequah 27. Hamm then found Barlow open, this time in the end zone to deadlock the score 21-21 with 2:05 left in the third period.
A quarterback sack by Justin Hines stopped Tahlequah's next drive to end the third period. Tahlequah fumbled the snap and Coweta recovered at the 25 with 11:58 left in the game.
Freshman backup quarterback Na’Kylan Starks connected with quarterback Hamm for a 21-yard touchdown with 10:25 left to play.
Coweta's defense held and forced Tahlequah to punt. The key play of the drive was a 19-yard pass to Gunnar McCollough to the Tahlequah 41.
Starks took a reverse handoff from Hamm and raced 41 yards through traffic down the far side of the field to score with 7:06 left to play. Coweta led 35-21.
On the first play after the kickoff, Zaydin Skinner intercepted a Tahlequah pass but the series ended with a punt. Moments later, Starks intercepted a pass at the Coweta 23.
After suffering a 15-yard penalty, Hamm found McCollough down the near sideline and he broke through tackling for a 72-yard dagger touchdown to seal the big upset.
According to statistician Roy Bradshaw, Starks led the Tigers in rushing with five carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Ford carried eight times for 42 yards and Hamm had 15 carries for 33 yards. The team rushed 37 times for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Hamm completed 10 of 17 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Starks completed one of two passes for a 21-yard touchdown to Hamm.
McCollough led receivers with three catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Barlow caught two for 69 yards and two touchdowns while Lair caught three balls for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Score By Quarters:
Coweta 0 7 14 21 - 42
Tahlequah 0 14 7 0 - 21
Tah- Dae Dae Leathers 15 run. PAT Trae Patrick kick.
Tah- Leathers 3-yard run. PAT Patrick kick.
Cow – Blake Lair 40-yard pass from Gage Hamm. PAT Brody Rucker kick.
Tah – Leathers 3-yard run. PAT Patrick kick.
Cow- Brent Barlow 58-yard pass from Hamm. PAT Rucker kick.
Cow- Barlow 26-yard pass from Hamm. PAT Rucker kick.
Cow- Hamm 21-yard pass from Starks. PAT Rucker kick.
Cow- Gunnar McCollough 72-yard pass from Hamm. PAT Rucker kick.
Rushing – 37 carries-157 yards, 1 touchdown.
Passing -11 of 19 completions, no interceptions, 5 touchdowns.
Rushing – Na’Kylan Starks 5-56 yards, 1 touchdown; Mason Ford 8-42 yards; Gage Hamm 16-33 yards; Gunnar McCollough 5-20 yards; Piper Pennington 3-6 yards.
Passing – Hamm 10 of 17, 0 interceptions – 289 yards, 4 touchdowns; Starks 1 of 2, 0 interceptions – 21 yards, 1 touchdown.
Receiving – McCollough 3-103 yards, 1 touchdown; Brent Barlow 2-69 yards, 2 touchdowns; Blake lair 3-63 yards, 1 touchdown; Piper Pennington 1-32 yards; Hamm 1-21 yards, 1 touchdown; Ford 1-22 yards.
Kicking – Brody Rucker – 7 of 7 extra points.