|09/05/18 - |
ARDMORE — The Ada High football team got off to a bad start against No. 3 Ardmore Friday at Noble Stadium. And it didn’t get much better.
The Cougars committed five costly turnovers and Ardmore took full advantage in a 33-7 Week 1 loss to the Tigers.
It was reminiscent of a 37-14 loss to Ardmore to start the 2017 season.
“It was very similar to a year ago. We had two late first-half turnovers that didn’t go well for the Cougs. Just mistake, after mistake after mistake,” Ada head coach Chris Berus said following the game. “We have a lot of growing pains that we’re going through right now. We play with so many new guys on the field.”
The Cougars are back on the road in Week 2, traveling to Noble Friday night.
“The testament is going to be how we come back (Monday) and get ready to get after it,” Berus said.
“We have to start getting ready for Noble. It’s about how we manage the disappointment of not playing well and learning from our mistakes,” he continued. “We’ll watch the video and see where we can improve and apply that to our efforts as a staff and players and see how things turn out next Friday.”
Two of the most deflating plays for Ada came around four minutes apart midway into the first quarter.
A personal penalty on the opening kickoff — the officials had a hard time deciding on who it was against but finally called it on Ada — forced the Cougars to start the game at their own 10-yard line. After the offense stalled, Tovan Thomsen was forced to punt from the goal line and Ardmore had great field position at the Ada 40.
The Ada defense stiffened and the Cougars looked to be in good shape after lineman Teagin Rogers stuffed Ardmore running back Eean Ross for a four-yard loss to set up a fourth-and-15 situation for the home team.
After a timeout, the Tigers opted to go for it. Quarterback Tero Roberts rolled to his right and fired a pass in the direction of tight end Mylic Ritche, who made a diving catch for exactly the 15 yards needed for a first down. Two plays later, running back Jadrein Monroe scored from the 2 and a PAT kick by Rafael Interiano put Ardmore ahead 7-0 at the 6:22 mark of the first quarter.
After starting deep in its own territory again, it looked like Ada would have some breathing room when quarterback Zac Carroll connected with John Boone for a 10-yard gain to the Ardmore 25.
Another huge penalty later in the game wiped out that positive gain and set up Ada for disaster. The Cougars would finish with 14 penalties for 106 yards.
On third and 17 from the 18, Carroll dropped back to pass and was hit just as he tried to release the ball. It came right down into the hands of big Ardmore lineman Trenzel Johnson, who rumbled into the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown and after a missed PAT, the Tigers led 13-0 at the 4:50 mark of the opening frame.
The Cougars got to near midfield on their next drive before it stalled, but a nice Thomsen punt pinned Ardmore at the Ada 18.
Three long rushing plays allowed the Tigers to switch field position before the Ada defense again stiffened. However, Interiano nailed a 42-yard field goal, pushing the Ardmore advantage to 16-0 early in the second period.
Ada again got to midfield — Esaie Beam helped with a 15-yard kickoff return — but the Tigers got an interception by Roberts that foiled that Cougar drive.
Ada stopped an Ardmore fourth-down rush and took over at their own 40. The Cougars got as close as the Tiger 37 via a nine-yard pass to Braden Moore and a 10-yard scamper by Ethan Presgrove, but a penalty pushed Ada back yet again.
Carroll, with an Ardmore defender in his face, threw an interception to Nathan Taylor, who returned it 47 yards to paydirt. The Tigers pushed their lead to 23-0 at the 2:03 mark of the second period.
Ardmore wasn’t finished.
Chris Lewis recovered an Ada fumble with 42 seconds left and the Tigers got close enough for Interiano to drill a 46-yard field goal as time expired, giving the home team a 26-0 lead at halftime.
“Hat’s off to Ardmore. They have a great football team and we knew that going in,” Berus said.
The offensive bright spot for Ada came after Rogers recovered an Ardmore fumble at the Ada 35. The Tigers actually fumbled the ball five times, but lost only one.
On the next play, Ada tailback Walt LaBove raced through a nice hole at the line of scrimmaged, bounced to the left sideline, avoided a tackle in the red zone and scored on a 65-yard touchdown run. Thomsen’s PAT kick trimmed the Ardmore advantage to 26-7 at the 5:57 mark of the third quarter.
Ardmore tacked on another touchdown via a 1-yard run by Ross early in the fourth quarter to end the scoring.
The Ada defense was solid against the high-powered Ardmore offense. The Tigers finished with 286 yards of total offense, but just 106 over the final two quarters.
LaBove led the Ada offense with 75 yards on eight carries. Presgrove finished with nine carries for 36 yards.
Carroll, in his first varsity start, completed 7-of-12 passes for 41 yards.
Ada finished with 176 total yards.
“When you’re trying to build chemistry in a lot of places, timing is an issue and just understanding how to play together is going to be an issue. It’s all fixable,” Berus said. “We did some things that were positive in some areas and we’re going to build on those and try to put our kids in the best possible position to be successful.”
Cameron Petties led the Ardmore ground game with 85 yards on 10 carries. Ross added 52 yards on nine totes with Monroe followed with 51 yards on nine carries.
Roberts completed 3-of-5 passes for 24 yards.