ARDMORE – For more than 16 minutes in Friday night’s gridiron contest at Noble Stadium, the Durant Lions played the wheels off fourth-ranked Ardmore, building a 17-0 advantage.
That seemed to just wake up the explosive Tigers, who scored on their next seven possessions for 48 unanswered points en route a 48-17 victory.
In that early 16-minute span the Lions looked like they could beat anybody, racking up nearly 200 yards offensively while limiting the Tigers to just 20.
One explosive play however seemed to turn the tide and the momentum the rest of the way.
“We did what we hoped to early,” head coach Ray Richards said afterward. “We slowed the game down, executed moving the chains, put points on the board and got several three and outs on defense. We were playing really well.
“The big plays turned the tide in the second quarter. They had 108 yards on just three plays while we did a really good job defensively other than that. We went out and competed well early against a very good football team. I wished we would have done a little better later in the game but give Ardmore credit.”
Durant got off to a sensational start despite not coming up with points on its first possession, taking the opening kickoff and driving 73 yards in 14 plays while eating up nearly half of the first quarter.
Quarterback Cade Buchanan hit five passes to Jeremy Seward, Cade Ogden and Jensen Simmons and the Lions also got a nifty 18-yard burst from Matt Gillis, but came away empty when Ardmore’s Michael Bruner picked off a pass the Tiger 5.
Ardmore netted just two yards on three plays on its initial possession having to punt it away.
Durant needed just one play to get on the board with a 39-yard scoring dash from Matt Gillis and Dax Chapman extra point 4:44 remaining.
The Tigers ran just three plays again on the following possession as DHS forced a fumble that Austin Reinecker recovered at the Tiger 39.
Buchanan got the Lions out of a first and long hole with a 12-yard strike to Seward and faced 4th and 7 at the Ardmore 26 when he found Jensen Simmons behind the Tiger secondary for a touchdown and 14-0 advantage.
The hosts still couldn’t get anything going on their next opportunity, having to punt after just three plays.
Durant took over at its own 35 for the ensuing possession and utilized outstanding balance with completions to Dalton White and Seward along with several strong runs by Gillis before stalling and settling for a Chapman 24-yard field goal and a 17-0 edge.
Ardmore looked to be in trouble again on its next offensive chance before cashing in a 3rd and 12 with a 33-yard completion from Tero Roberts to Chris Lewis, giving the Tigers their initial first down of the game.
Two plays later Braeden Vance broke loose for a 34-yard touchdown run, cutting the margin to 17-7.
Durant was forced to punt after just three plays and Ardmore set sail again with a 41-yard burst by Roberts until a touchdown-saving tackle by Kash Edwards.
They punched it in two plays later however, trimming the Durant lead to 17-14 just before halftime.
The Lions finished the first half with a 220-142 edge in total yardage, but the second half was a completely different story as the Tigers came out with the momentum.
Ardmore started the second half with a seven-play, 65-yard scoring march to take the lead at 21-17 and it was all Tigers from there on as they scored on their next four possessions while outgaining Durant by a 273-48 margin.
Gillis finished with a nice game on the ground, rushing 25 times for 123 yards while Buchanan completed 17 of 29 passes for 149 yards.
Cade Ogden once again led the receiving corps with six grabs for 31 yards. Simmons caught four passes for 47 yards while Seward added four for 41 yards.
The Lions close out the non-district portion of the schedule next week when they return for the home opener against the Ada Cougars, who will also come in at 0-2 after losses to Ardmore and Carl Albert.
Contact Kevin Farr at 580-634-2161 or firstname.lastname@example.org