|11/09/18 - |
TULSA — The Ada Cougars nearly overcame an amazing performance by Tulsa Edison tailback Sevion Morrison during an epic Week 10 battle with the Eagles Friday night at Lafortune Stadium.
However, Ada’s final three drives of the game ended with interceptions — including one on a fake punt attempt and the final one on a desperation pass with time running out — helping the Eagles rally and hang on for a 37-27 win.
Ada ended the regular season at 5-5 overall and 4-3 in District 5A-3 play, while Thomas Edison Preparatory High School finished 6-4 and 6-1.
The Eagles ended up second in the district and will host Claremore Friday night in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs. Meanwhile, Ada will make the 156-mile trek to Collinsville to battle the third-ranked Cardinals.
Kickoff for that contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Sallee Field
“This was the most complete game that we’ve played. We had just enough mistakes where we couldn’t beat them, but it wasn’t because we couldn’t execute,” said Ada head coach Chris Berus. “That’s what’s very encouraging. We’re fortunate we have another week ... and we want to do all we can to continue the season.”
Morrison’s monster night included 382 yards and five touchdowns. But he’s been pulling those types of stunts all year. He’s heading to the playoffs with 2,639 yards and 34 TDs. Edison’s talented junior had 269 yards at halftime.
“We played a very prolific tailback. That guy is super special,” Berus said. “The second half, we did a phenomenal job of making some adjustments and hemming him up.”
Ada quarterback Tanner Gilliam surged through a big hole and sped through the Tulsa Edison defense for a 36-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. After Tovan Thomsen booted the extra point, Ada held its first lead of the night at 27-23 and had gained some much-needed momentum.
The long TD capped an impressive 12-play, 92-yard drive by the Cougars, who kept the ball on the ground with runs by Gilliam and tailback Walt Labove.
In fact, the Cougars piled up 244 rushing yards in the contest, with Gilliam leading the way with 178 yards on 28 tough carries. Labove added 61 yards on 14 totes.
“I was very, very proud of our offensive line. Man, did they show up tonight. We probably challenged them as hard as we have all season long this past week, and those kids answered the bell,” Berus said.
A pivotal play happened during Edison’s next possession. Eagles’ quarterback Louis Perona made a bad pitch to running back Xavier Richards, who had to jump on the ball for a 16-yard loss. Ada linebacker Matt Maloy rushed in to make the play and literally dove over Perona and made minimal contact on the tackle. But officials called Maloy for a personal foul.
Instead of Edison facing a third-and-24 situation, it was third-and-nine. On the next play, Morrison found a seam in the Ada defense and gained 50 yards before Cougar defender Kobe Burgess tackled him at the Ada 25. It was Morrison’s longest run in the second half.
A 19-yard pass play from Perona to Richard got the Eagles close, and Morrison scored from the 5 to put Edison ahead 30-27 at the 8:47 mark of the fourth period.
A 28-yard kickoff return by Burgess put Ada at the Edison 49. However, a penalty and a sack by Edison’s Jacob Youngblood left AHS with a fourth-and-long situation.
The punt team came onto the field, but Zac Carroll — Ada’s backup quarterback — took the snap and tossed in the direction of a wide-open Braden Maloy. But the throw was long and was picked off by Edison’s Anthony Jimmerson.
“It was there, we just overthrew it just a little bit,” Berus said.
The hosts took advantage of the short field, and Morrison scored on a 7-yard run to put his team on top 37-27 with just 2:33 left in the game.
Gilliam connected with Burgess for 15 yards during Ada’s next drive to set the Cougars up at the TE 31. He tried to connect with Burgess again on the next play, but the ball was popped up in the air and Rhazjon Green intercepted it at the TE 4-yard line.
The Cougars forced a punt, but Ada had just 14.2 seconds to work with. An interception by Richard all but ended the game.
Burgess intercepted a Perona pass on the second play of the third quarter. But early in Ada’s next drive, Gilliam had to leave the game for a few minutes after suffering from back spasms. A holding penalty and a sack ended that AHS possession.
Morrison had a touchdown run of 87 yards on Tulsa Edison’s first play from scrimmage that gave the hosts a 7-0 lead at the 10:10 mark of the first quarter. It looked like the Cougars might have him wrapped up at the line of scrimmage, but he got away and flew down the sideline for the long TD run.
A long run set up the Eagles’ next touchdown, but this one was by Wyatt Ellis. He rushed 56 yards to the Ada 9. Two plays later, Morrison scored, and another PAT kick by Ryan West gave Edison a 14-0 lead.
The Ada running game got untracked on the Cougars’ next drive. They marched 67 yards in nine plays, capped by a 5-yard keeper by Gilliam, who had 55 during the drive. The PAT kick was off the mark, leaving Edison on top 14-6 at the 8:53 mark of the second period.
West kicked a 35-yard field goal at the 5:12 mark to make it 17-6.
At that point, the Cougars were down but far from out.
“Our kids understand it’s a long ballgame. We did not flinch. We kept fighting,” Berus said.
A 54-yard kickoff return by Jake Shannon looked like it would give Ada great field position, but part of the return was wiped out with a penalty.
Ada would score anyway, this time on a 1-yard Gilliam run. A two-point pass fell incomplete, leaving the visitors trailing 17-12 at the 2:59 mark of the second period.
Morris did his thing again on the first play of the next TE drive, racing 65 yards to paydirt. That put the Eagles ahead 23-12 after West missed a PAT try.
Ada got the ball back with 2:44 left and went into hurry-up mode. A 60-yard drive ended with a nice 19-yard touchdown grab by Shannon from Gilliam (who rushed in for two more points). Ada trailed 23-20 at halftime.
Gilliam finished 7-of-12 through the air for 110 yards.
Berus said his team would go back to work Monday in preparation for the playoffs.
“There are so many nuances in a game that makes a difference. I’m very pleased and very encouraged rolling into next week,” he said. “We’ll watch the video, see where we can make improvements and hopefully heal up a little this week and be ready to rock and roll next Friday.”