TULSA, Ok. - Durant Lions (2-8) running back Dakota Diessner had a career high performance rushing for 213 yards on 24 attempts and 5 touchdowns in a win over Tulsa Hale Rangers (2-8) in the season finale on Friday night, 56-38.
Diessner shredded the Rangers defense with rushing touchdowns of: 1 yard, 2 yards, 16 yards, 43 yards and 56 yards.
“We told him (Diessner) on Monday that our goal was to get him 200 yards tonight.” said Lions head coach Byron Cordell, “Dakota is a great team player, he has played running back, he’s played wide receiver and has never complained, he has done everything we have asked from him and more. He’s just a great young man.”
Lions QB Zac Cater got into the touchdown mix throwing for two touchdowns and one rushing touchdown. Cater went 9-of-14, 117 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT. On the receiving end of two touchdowns were Hunter Stephens and Dakota Green.
The holes were open and pass protection solid as the Lions offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage all night.
“Our offensive line played the best game all year tonight and there is nobody that we have been harder on all year. They are a great bunch of guys and they responded this week and did a great job and played the best game they could play. Anytime you get 320 yards rushing, you’re doing something right and it all starts up front.” said Cordell.
The Lions led the entire game and the scoring barrage began in the first quarter with a well placed punt.
The Lions first possession of the game stalled at the Rangers 42 yard line and were forced to punt. The punt landed and bounced from the Rangers 5 yard line and Stephens downed the punt at the 1 yard line.
With their backs against the end zone, the Rangers couldn’t move the ball past the 2 yard line and were forced to punt. The punt was short and the Lions took over at the Rangers 24 yard, then the Lions began to pound the ball.
With a running back duo of Diessner and Kooper Cavender, the Lions ran the ball six straight times. The Lions faced 4th-and-goal at the Rangers 1 yard line and Diessner would punch it in for his first touchdown of the night. Durant led 7-0.
Tulsa began it’s next drive at it’s own 48 yard line, but the Lions defense held on a 4th-and-one when linebacker John Lozano, led the team with 9 tackles, put a monster hit on the running back in the back field for a fourth down stop.
It took the Lions 11 seconds for its next score.
Durant had the ball at its own 45 yard line when the Lions pulled a misdirection play and Cater hit Stephens down the field for a 55 yard touchdown. The Lions led 14-0.
However, the touchdown didn’t go unanswered. The Rangers burst open a big running play and scored on one play to cut into the Lions lead, 14-6. But the Lions roared back.
With 17 seconds left in the first quarter, the Lions faced 4th-and-2 at the Rangers 43 yard line. The Lions lined up and split the defense wide open and Diessner ran to the house for a 43 yard touchdown to give the Lions a 21-6 lead.
The Rangers found some momentum in the second and came within one point of Durant, 21-20.
Durant would put together a 9 play drive starting at midfield and finished it off with Diessner driving it in from 4 yards out to give the Lions a 28-20 half time lead.
Durant would start the third quarter with the ball and they went straight to work. The Lions would drive down the field that spanned 65 yards in 8 plays and would end with Cater rushing the ball into end zone. Durant led 35-20.
After a four-and-out by the Rangers, the Lions began its next scoring drive from midfield. In just 8 plays the Lions were on the Rangers 4 yard line and faced 4th-and-goal. Cater would roll to his right and found Green in the back of the end zone for TD and extended Durant’s led to 42-20.
The Rangers would score on it’s possession, but the Lions answered back. With 3:34 left in the third quarter, Diessner would pop off a 56 yard rushing touchdown to put the Lions up, 48-26.
In the beginning minutes of the fourth quarter, Durant was on the Rangers 16 yard line when Diessner would score his final touchdown on night to give the Lions a 56-26 lead. The Rangers would score two more times and the Lions won 56-38.
Notable Fact: This game had the most combined points by the two teams in a Durant victory since defeating Wapanucka 102-0 in 1918.