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Cougars Win On Senior Night
10/30/18 -

The Ada High football team stubbed its toe during its first two possession of the game against Tulsa Hale on Senior Night last Friday at Norris Field. After that wake-up call, the Cougars took care of business.

Ada limited the Rangers to minus 38 yards of total offense and flew past Tulsa Hale 53-12 in a District 5A-3 matchup inside Koi Ishto Stadium. Ada improved to 5-4 overall and 4-2 in the district, while Hale fell to 1-8 and 0-6.

The Cougars can clinch the second spot in the district and a home playoff game with a road win against Tulsa Edison in Week 10. A loss to the Eagles would really shake up the district standings.

“It was a good overall win,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus. “I think we weren’t as mentally prepared to walk onto the field tonight as you’d like us to be. But we played football well.”

Ada honored 20 seniors in a ceremony before the kickoff.

“I’m really pleased and proud of our kids tonight. We got a lot of kids on the field. Our seniors got to play in front of the home fans one last time during the regular season,” Berus said. “Of course, we hope to get one back here in a couple of weeks. Just to get all those kids on the field was very, very special.”

The Ada offense was not crisp to start the game.

On the Cougars’ first drive, Ada quarterback Tanner Gilliam rushed for 14 and 4 yards to start things off. But on second down, Gilliam watched as the snap from center sailed past him. He scrambled to try and jump on the loose pigskin, but Tulsa Hale defender A.J. Gastelum beat him to it and the fumble recovery ended the Ada drive.

The Ada defense held and forced a punt.

This time with quarterback Zac Carroll at the help, Ada got an 18-yard catch from Jake Shannon, a 10-yard scramble by the new QB and a 4-yard run by Ethan Presgrove.

Carroll then tried to connect with a receiver on the far sideline, and Tulsa Hale’s Kareem Meeks stepped in front of the pass, intercepted the ball and streaked down the field for a 62-yard return for a touchdown. The PAT kick was off the mark, but the Rangers led 6-0 at the 8:05 mark of the opening period.

The Ada crowd seemed a little shellshocked at the early turn of events.

It didn’t take long for the Cougars to right the ship against the overmatched Hale squad.

After a 32-yard punt return by Joseph Feezel, the Cougars marched 56 yards in six plays. Gilliam scored on a 4-yard keeper — he had a nice 27-yard scramble to get Ada close — and Tovan Thomsen kicked the PAT to put Ada ahead 7-6 at the 5:55 mark of the opening frame. Thomsen would hit 5-of-5 PAT kicks throughout the game.

Ada forced a punt, and the kick by Hale’s Thomas Cochran appeared to be partially blocked. It looked like Carroll had a chance to jump on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown, but Deangelo Washington recovered it for the Rangers, giving the hosts a safety to increase Ada’s advantage to 9-6 at the 2:30 mark of the first quarter.

The Cougars kept pouring it on with three more scores in the second period.

Braden Moore hauled in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Gilliam to push the Ada lead to 16-6.

Gilliam later connected with Shannon for a nice 31-yard scoring strike that pushed the Ada advantage to 23-6 at the 5:21 mark of the second quarter.

Ada was on the move as the half was winding down, but the Tulsa Hale defense stiffened. After six failed attempts to get into the end zone from inside the AHS 15 (Ada got the ball to the 4), Berus and company had to settle for a 27-yard field goal with just :01 left on the clock.

The Cougars carried a 26-6 lead into the break. Hale had minus 13 yards at halftime and had managed just one first down.

“The defense continues to do what our defense does and pitched another shutout,” Berus said.

An interception by Ada sophomore David Johnson set up a 3-yard TD run by Matt Maloy that saw the AHS lead grow to 33-6.

Hale pulled off one last stunner when Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. The Tulsa playmaker appeared to be stuck in a crowd around the Hale 35-yard line but emerged on the other side of the pack of players and raced on to paydirt. Matt Maloy recorded a sack to foil a two-point try, leaving the score 33-12 at the 8:10 mark of the third quarter.

Presgrove did most of the work on a nice six-play, 66-yards-drive, and he capped with a 2-yard TD burst. Phillip Jones missed the PAT kick, leaving Ada on top 39-12 at the 2:19 mark of the third quarter.

While the defense — no matter who was in there — kept on turning back the Hale offense, the Cougars would tack on two more touchdowns in the final period.

Presgrove scored on an 11-yard TD run, and a Jones kick put Ada ahead 45-12 at the 6:33 mark of the fourth quarter.

Sophomore Jarron Christian then put a little icing on the Cougar cake by returning a punt 34 yards for a score with 2:22 remaining. A Thomsen kick put the hosts ahead 53-12.

Berus was glad to get most of his players into the game during the final home contest.

“It gave me a chance to honor them with the efforts they’ve given all year, especially the ones that hadn’t seen a lot of playing time,” he said. “There late, a couple of those groups put points on the board for — once on offense and once on special teams. All the kids competed to the end, and that’s what you want.”

Ada piled up 336 yards of total offense, including rushing for 288 yards on 50 carries. Hale had minus 52 yards rushing after the dust had settled.

Gilliam finished with 152 yards on 17 carries and threw for 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Presgrove had 82 yards on 15 totes, while Carroll collected 33 yards on just four keepers.

Leaders on the Ada defensive unit were Teagin Rogers with a team-high 12 tackles and a quarterback sack. Matt Maloy added 10 stops and made a nice interception off a pass that was tipped in the air early in the fourth quarter.

Kohner Gallagher also had 10 tackles, while Braden Maloy and Jaycob Gray added nine tackles each.

The Cougars sacked Tulsa Hale quarterback Jeremiah Stacy four times.

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