Quarterback Jackson McFarlane made sure the Ada Cougars and their fans had a happy Homecoming.
McFarlane threw for three touchdowns and rushed for three more to lead Ada to a dominant 47-19 win over Tecumseh Friday night at Norris Field.
Ada improved to 4-2 overall with its fourth straight win and is off to a 3-0 start in District 4A-2 play. Tecumseh fell to 3-3 and 1-2.
McFarlane’s impressive numbers were as follows: 10 rushes for 152 yards and 10-of-15 through the air for 163 more yards.
He set the tone when the ever-improving Ada offensive line parted the Red Sea on the Cougars’ first offensive play. McFarlane darted through the gap and bolted 54 yards untouched to the end zone. His PAT kick made it 7-0 at the 9:52 point of the first quarter.
“It was a great hole with great execution of the fake. He saw that seam and hit it like a champ,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus.
Tecumseh put together an impressive 10-play, 80-yard drive on its next series, ripping off big chunks of rushing yards en route to the score. Zach Powell blocked the extra-point kick, but the Savages had pulled within 7-6 at the 5:02 mark of the opening frame. That march was capped by a 13-yard TD scamper by THS quarterback Brayden James, who piled up 143 yards rushing in the contest.
However, after that drive, Ada’s defense stiffened.
“They decided they were going to try and out-physical us, instead of out-finesse us like they tried in that first series. They moved the ball down the field, and we just couldn’t get settled in,” Berus explained. “After that drive ... the kids made the adjustments they needed to, That’s a testament to those guys — learning on the run like that.”
The Cougars outscored Tecumseh 27-0 in the second period to grab a 34-6 halftime lead and never looked back.
“After that series, we were just clicking,” Berus said.
“We had that one drive fizzle out, and we fumbled it. But after that, we were clicking,” he continued. “It was just a great team effort all the way around. I’m very proud of them.”
The only time Ada starters didn’t score was on the drive following Tecumseh’s lone first-half touchdown.
Behind the hard-nosed running by Ada junior Ethan Presgrove (who also had a 28-yard reception), the Cougars drove all the way to the Tecumseh 1. But a procedure penalty moved Ada back and Tecumseh’s Gage Boatman recovered a fumble on the next play.
The Cougars then scored touchdowns on their next six possessions and led 47-6 at the 7:03 mark of the third period. Cougar reserves flooded the field after that.
McFarlane added TD runs of 33 and 9 yards in the first half.
Berus and company even reached into their bag of tricks late in the first quarter. Receiver Ethan Clark, who is the team’s backup quarterback, took a reverse, stopped and threw a long pass to Lincoln Gibson that he turned into a 63-yard TD reception that put Ada ahead 28-6 at the 3:44 mark of the second period.
Gibson hauled in a 10-yard TD pass from McFarlane with less than a minute left in the second period and after McFarlane’s kick clanged off the upright, Ada carried a 34-6 lead into the locker room at halftime. Gibson finished with four receptions for 93 yards.
The Cougars finally got playmaker Kylen Cooper involved in the offense on their first possession of the third quarter. McFarlane connected with Cooper for 45 yards on the first play. He then found Cooper (three catches, 68 yards) in the corner of the end zone with a 15-yard TD pass. The PAT kick missed, but Ada still led comfortably at 40-6. McFarlane had made 20 consecutive PAT kicks before missing two in a row against Tecumseh.
Ada’s final score came with 7:03 left in the third quarter, when Powell hauled in a 20-yard TD reception.
Walt Labove led another impressive Ada defensive charge with 12 tackles, while both Christian Maloy and Jackson Southard made 11 stops apiece. Jalen Jessepe had four tackles, two quarterback hurries and a tackle for a loss. Garrett Christian picked off two passes, while Powell also had an interception.
The Cougars will face a huge district test this week, when they travel to Tuttle Friday night to battle the tradition-rich Tigers. Tuttle defeated Harrah 41-12 last week.