Eisenhower and Lawton High both made big plays on offense and defense, however, when the final whistle blew it was the Eagles’ superior special teams that fueled a wild 41-33 victory before another huge crowd at Cameron Stadium.
The battle was just what the Great American Rivalry program is all about and when the game was over it was Ike head coach Javon Harris who held the trophy high while his players scrambled as the Marines that were there as the sponsors of the national program tossed hats toward the Eagles who were gathered on the south side of the stadium.
For a time it appeared the Eagles were going to seal the outcome early after Serri Sheridan bolted 72 yards to score on a kickoff return to push Ike’s lead to 41-19 but this one was far from over.
The Wolverines had gotten their own kickoff return for a score just before Sheridan’s effort as Dre’Vion Walker raced 72 yards to arrange a 34-19 score and after the Ike lead had ballooned, LHS looked to be in real trouble.
But LHS got its offense cranked up, scoring on a 62-yard drive that took just four plays, the last a 5-yard Nate Jones TD run. Jones tacked on the 2-point PAT and it was 41-27 with 9:00 left in the game.
Ike was able to get one first down on its next possession but that drive stalled and the Eagles punted the ball back to LHS at its own 19.
With time quickly becoming an issue, LHS coach Ryan Breeze called a deep post route and quarterback Jaden Olmstead dropped back and fired the ball as far as he could.
LHS wide receiver Pene Vaisagote drew double coverage but the 6-3 leaper went high to bring down the perfect pass and completed the 81-yard beauty with 6:19 remaining. The Wolverines missed the PAT kick but they had made it a game at 41-33.
The LHS defense was able to stop Ike twice more and get the ball back for the offense but on both late possessions the Ike defense came up with huge interceptions, the last with 0:47 remaining to seal the outcome.
“We made some big plays with our special teams,” Harris said. “We get a couple of extra possessions there by recovering kickoffs and the kickoff return was huge. I’ve been telling our guys that there are three phases of the game and that special teams are just as important as the other two. Our guys were very resilient there when they came back against us.
“Coach Breeze and his guys made some big plays to get back in the game but we were able to settle down and get a couple of big stops there at the end.”
The LHS skipper had no trouble pointing to his club’s downfall.
“Special teams just killed us tonight,” he said. “We can’t field those two short kickoffs and give them two possessions right there at midfield. We get a big special teams play ourselves with a kickoff return for a score but we turn right around and let them take one the other way. We have to get that part cleaned up heading into district.”
Both teams now turn their attention to the important district games as 3-1 Ike has to hit the road to face No. 1-ranked Carl Albert next week in a big District 5A-2 battle. LHS will take a 1-2 record into next week’s District 6A-1 battle at Putnam City.
LHS got on the board first when a Wolverines’ pass attempt bounced off the intended receiver and right into Vaisagote’s hands and he raced 39 yards to paydirt. But LHS missed the PAT; another special teams mistake.
Ike got even when Sheridan caught a 14-yard TD pass from Charlie Trachte with 0:07 left in the first quarter. Once again, the PAT failed and it was 6-6 after the first 12 minutes.
A short LHS punt set Ike up just 30 yards from the end zone and Trachte found Jalen Jones for a 15-yard TD strike. But once again the PAT run failed leaving Ike up 12-6.
Then came the first of the two Ike kickoffs that LHS was unable to recover and this time the Eagles had to go just 51 yards to score with Trachte hitting Joseph Simpson for the score from 28 yards out for a 19-6 halftime lead for the Eagles.
LHS scored the first TD of the second half as Nate Jones caught a 50-yard pass that included a facemask penalty at the end for a first down at the Ike 10. Jones covered that distance in two plays as LHS got within six at 19-13.
The Eagles surged out to a 25-13 edge after a 50-yard drive that was capped by a Kingston Tito 11-yard TD run. Another PAT miss—this one hit the upright and bounced away—left it 25-13, Ike with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
Harris saw his club fail to score on its next two possessions as LHS intercepted two Ike passing attempts, the second at the LHS 7-yard-line.
But the Eagles were able to throw LHS back and added a safety with 11:23 left in the game.
Sheridan gave Ike good field position with a nice kickoff return and Tony Worrie set up the next score with three straight runs to give Ike a first down at the 2-yard-line. Trachte got the TD from one yard out as the lead soared to 34-13.
Then came the kickoff fireworks that set up the final critical period as the Eagles held on for the win, their second over LHS in the past four years.
“Most definitely, our offensive line played well and gave us a chance to make some plays,” Harris said. “We still have things we have to clean up but our players gave great effort and are working hard to get better.”
Trachte wound up connecting on 17-of-27 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. He had a couple of interceptions.
Olmstead wound up just 9-of-23 passes but those went for 286 yards and two TDs. He also was intercepted twice.
N. Jones led all rushers with 126 yards on 21 carries while Worrie led Ike in rushing with 67 yards on five carries. Tito added 54 on 11 carries.