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Comets Defeat Cougars In District Showdown
10/20/18 -

The Ada High football team fell flat during a fall break matchup with No. 10 Bishop Kelley Thursday night at Norris Field.

The Cougars never quite got untracked offensively in a 20-0 loss to the Comets.

Bishop Kelley won its sixth straight game to improve to 6-2 overall and now has firm control of District 5A-3 with a 5-0 mark. Ada fell to 4-4 and 3-2.

The Cougars now sit in the No. 3 spot in the district standings behind Tulsa Edison at 4-1. Coweta and McAlester are also 3-2 in district play.

“Hats off to Bishop Kelley. They’re a class act, great football team and well-coached. They played hard. I don’t want to take anything away from what they did tonight,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus.

The game was a hard-hitting, slobberknocker right from the start and well worthy of a district prize fight.

A big turning point in the battle occurred late in the second quarter. With Kelley already on top 6-0, the Comets were backed up at their own 9-yard line after being charged with a holding penalty. A defensive stop could have given the Cougars the ball in position to drive in for a game-tying score.

It didn’t turn out that way.

Facing a third-and-9 play, the Ada defense stuffed Bishop Kelley’s Jack Barkley — one of the team’s two quarterbacks — for a 1-yard gain. However, there were some extracurricular activities following the play, and the officials eventually called an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty on the Cougars, giving the visitors a first down.

The Comets were pushed back with a false start penalty and were facing second-and-15 from their own 32. Barkley scrambled to his left and fired a pass toward receiver Dylan Struble, but he couldn’t hang on and the Comets were looking at third-and-long. However, an Ada defender was penalized for roughing the passer, giving Bishop Kelley another first down.

Barkley was shaken up on the play and had to leave the game but would return in the second half.

The Cougars greeted new Kelley QB Stephen Collins with a six-yard loss, stuffing him on an attempted sweep around the right side. Collins regained six yards on second down and completed a nine-yard pass to Zach Middleton. Bishop Kelley then faced a fourth-and-1 play from the 44.

Ada jumped offsides, gift wrapping yet another first down to Bishop Kelley.

Three plays later, Collins raced around the right side, dived toward the pylon and scored on a 17-yard keeper with just 17 seconds left in the second quarter. Brennan Whalen kicked the extra point, and the Comets carried a 13-0 lead — and all the momentum — into the locker room at halftime.

Ada would finish the game with eight penalties — and all seemed crucial — for 69 yards.

“It’s obvious if you watched the game what happened. I’m pretty much tired of talking about it. They’re not getting enough from us (coaches) to keep from having the lack of discipline we’re playing with,” Berus said.

One of Ada’s best offensive plays in the first half was wiped out with a penalty. On the Cougars’ first possession, Ada quarterback Tanner Gilliam fired a pass to receiver Jordan Willis, who caught the ball for a 27-yard gain. But a false start infraction wiped out that big gain.

The first 19-plus minutes featured a lot of great defense. Other than Kelley’s first score — Barkley got free and zig-zagged his way for a 54-yard touchdown run at the 2:57 mark of the first period — there weren’t a lot of offensive highlights.

The Cougars never got anything going offensively, especially in a first half that saw Ada manage just one first down (on its first drive) and 30 yards of total offense. Things didn’t get much better in the second half, as the Cougars finished with 122 total yards.

“We just got whipped up front. That’s what it comes down to. We had a hard time getting to the second level. We also had some busts in some of our schemes. We just have to get better,” Berus said.

The Ada defense kept bending but not breaking in the second half, and it looked like there might not be any more scoring. But the Comets took advantage of another Ada mistake.

On a third-and-8 play from the Ada 18, Gilliam fired a ball in the direction of receiver Jake Shannon. However, Tulsa Kelley defender Corieon Lewis wrestled the ball away from Shannon for an interception he returned to the Ada 12.

Two runs by tailback Zach Middleton — the second a 2-yard TD burst — helped the Comets extend its lead to 20-0 at the 6:15 mark of the fourth quarter.

Ada had one promising drive late in the third quarter. The Cougars got out of a hole (starting at their own 7) when Gilliam tossed a nice pass to receiver Kobe Burgess, who made a sensational catch down the right sideline between two Bishop Kelley defenders for a 28-yard gain. That grab moved the Cougars to midfield.

Two plays later, another ill-timed Ada penalty pushed the hosts back into a third-and-15 situation, and an incomplete pass forced Tovan Thomsen to punt. It was one of six Tovan punts of the night.

The Comets didn’t exactly eat up the years. Kelley finished with 149 rushes on 33 carries, including the 54-yarder in the first half. Between the two quarterbacks, the visitors did complete 11-of-13 passes for 93 yards. Barkley threw for 66 and Collins for 27.

Gilliam rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries to pace the struggling Ada ground game. He also completed 4-of-10 passes for 40 yards.

“We just have to keep fighting, keep prepping, keep getting better and keep believing in what we’re doing,” Berus said.

“We’re going to get back after it starting (Friday) and start working on where we can get better. Then Monday, we’ll get back to practice and keep working toward the goal,” he said.

Ada is back at home next Friday for a Week 9 matchup with Tulsa Hale.

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