BROKEN ARROW — Fireworks shot after Owasso’s 42-19 victory over top-ranked Broken Arrow in a Class 6AI showdown Friday night reflected the emotions of the victorious Rams, who ended the Tigers’ 15-game winning streak.
“It really means everything to us,” Owasso senior receiver Payton Lusk said. “We focus on the week at task, but this game really meant something to us. it was just a different energy at practice (this week), at morning lifts.
“We really bought into the game plan and it showed.”
Lusk was a big part of the second-ranked Rams’ victory with four catches for 96 yards and a key touchdown in the first Folds of Honor Patriot Bowl driven by Jim Glover Auto Family before a crowd of about 11,000 at Memorial Stadium.
So was Rams standout tight end Mario Kirby, although he was held to one reception — but it was a big one — on Cole Dugger’s 49-yard pass for a touchdown that gave Owasso a 21-17 lead with 5:12 left in the third quarter.
It came against a secondary that lost star safety Myles Slusher to an ankle injury in the second quarter.
“It was a play we worked on all week in practice,” Broken Arrow coach David Alexander said. “No. 6 (Kirby) is a good football player, but when we don’t have Myles back there, it makes a difference.”
The Rams (3-0) struck again on their next possession as Dugger connected with Lusk on consecutive passes of 38 and 15 yards — the latter for a touchdown that made it 28-17 with 2:05 left in the third.
At that point, Lusk knew the Rams were in control and that an 11-point deficit would be too much for the Tigers.
”I firmly believe we have the best DBs in the state and I know our defense never fails to hold it down for us,” Lusk said.
Owasso made it 35-17 on freshman Cole Adams’ 43-yard TD run on a reverse early in the fourth quarter.
After Tyler Crawford’s 51-yard punt pinned Owasso at its 2, the Rams took an intentional safety as Dugger ran out of the end zone with 5:27 left — giving the Tigers hope as it was a two-score game at 35-19.
Broken Arrow (2-1) quickly moved to the Owasso 10, but was pushed back 15 yards by a personal foul — and then Rams linebacker Emaud Triplett took over. On consecutive plays, he had a sack and then a 72-yard interception return, setting up Hagen Hood’s clinching 3-yard touchdown run on the next play.
“We knew we had the better team and we had the tougher team,” Triplett said. “We came out and executed like we were supposed to.”
Owasso avenged a pair of losses to the Tigers last year, including 10-7 in the semifinals.
“I thought it would go down to the wire,” Owasso coach Bill Blankenship said. “I never know how to predict these kinds of games. That’s a good football team over there.”
The game began promisingly for the Tigers, who took the opening kickoff and marched 55 yards in 10 plays, capped by Mitchell Banning’s 1-yard touchdown run. Broken Arrow dominated the first quarter, but lost two fumbles that changed the game’s tone.
Owasso tied it at 7 on Isaiah Jacobs’ 3-yard TD run on the play after the Rams’ Andre King recovered a botched Tigers handoff.
The Rams took a 14-7 lead on Jacobs’ 1-yard TD run, ending a 13-play, 94-yard drive. That was the first time that Broken Arrow had trailed since the Week 2 game against Owasso last year.
From the end of the first quarter until midway through the fourth, Owasso outgained Broken Arrow, 333 yards to 25.
But the Tigers had a 17-14 lead early in the third quarter thanks to 10 points from its special teams.
On the first half’s final play, Keyon Barnett blocked a punt and Adonis Ballard recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown that tied the game at 14. After a bad Owasso punt snap, Tyler Crawford’s 34-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the third quarter gave Broken Arrow its short-lived final lead.
“We need to blame Coach Alexander because of the silly things we did,” Alexander said. “We lined up incorrectly offensively, backs going the wrong way, lining up incorrectly on defense. Those are things that are easily correctable. We’ll look at the film and make the corrections.
“Maybe we needed a little humble pie. Maybe Coach Alexander’s not practicing them hard enough, we’re going to figure that out. We’re going to see how they come out Monday and practice.”
Owasso will be ranked No. 1 going into a bye week for both teams before they each start district play with big showdowns on Sept. 27 — the Rams will host Union and Broken Arrow will visit Jenks.
“This victory is going to be huge,” Lusk said. “I can already feel it. The energy with the team, we’re all hyped up.
“This is a big momentum swing for us.”
Shawn Hein, Owasso Reporter, contributed to this story.
Shawn Hein contributed to this story.