MacArthur turned the tables on Ardmore in a span of seven seconds late in the first quarter and after the Highlanders got rolling they treated the Homecoming fans to an impressive 52-13 victory over the Tigers Friday at Cameron Stadium.
The Tigers took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards to score in 12 running plays, the score coming on a 1-yard run by Kylan Haskins.
Mac’s first possession was about the only lowlight of the game as a fumble gave the ball back to the Tigers on the Ardmore 24.
By then the Mac defense had figured out how to handle the Ardmore Flexbone offense, shutting them down on the next possession and forcing a punt that Dominic Collins returned to the Ardmore 37. Plus the Tigers were guilty of a personal foul on the return, pushing Mac to the 16-yard-line.
Jeremy Hutchinson got 10 on two carries and Aivan Locklin scored on a powerful 5-yard run on the third play. Miguel Martinez tackled on the PAT and Mac had the lead at 7-6 with 2:38 left in the first quarter.
Then the Highlanders came up with a big surprise, using an onside kick that Trey Williams flew downfield to grab, giving Mac the ball at the Ardmore 37. Locklin then dropped back and hit Collins who spun out of a couple of tackles and raced into the end zone with 2:31 still left in the first quarter. Martinez was true again and it was quickly 14-6.
On that TD play the Tigers where called for two 15-yard penalties, one a personal foul face-mask and another personal foul for a late hit in the end zone.
That allowed Mac to kick off from the Ardmore 30-yard-line and Highlanders’ Head Coach Brett Manning said “why not try another onside kick” and it worked to perfection again with a recovery at the Tigers’ 18-yard-line.
This time Ardmore’s defense rose to the occasion but Martinez came on and boomed a 38-yard field goal in a gusty crosswind for a 17-6 lead and there was still 1:22 left in the first quarter.
“That first onside was a good little something we’ve been working on and Trey Williams comes up there and makes a great grab,” Manning said. “Then on the next one we kicked off from their 30, so why not try it. Miguel is really good at placing those kicks where we want them.
“Tonight Miguel had a big game with the field goal and he hit all the PATs. He’s really given us a weapon out there with his kicking.”
The Highlanders produced three more TDs in the second quarter, the first on a 1-yard run by quarterback Dane Edwards.
The next scoring play was on a nifty inside handoff from Locklin to Xzavier Boothe that went for a 64-yard touchdown run. And those two connected again just minutes later, this time on a 25-yard touchdown pass 1:08 before the end of the first.
After that the Mac offense just kept putting pressure on the Tigers by pounding the ball and staying on the ground almost entirely.
“I thought our offensive line really had a good game,” Manning said. “We had good protection when we did throw it and our backs had some holes and we were able to play a bunch of guys there in the second half.”
Ardmore came out throwing early, hitting four straight passes but after that the Tigers stayed on the ground entirely. However, the Tigers were hurt by three lost fumbles and 10 penalties for 120 yards. The Tigers ended up having at least one starter draw two unsportsmanlike penalties and was disqualified.
“I thought our kids did a good job of controlling their emotions and not retaliating,” Manning said. “And our defense scored again, which is always a big plus. After that first drive we did a good job controlling their offense. It was obvious early that Ardmore has really improved since we saw them play Eisenhower.”
The schedule gets much tougher next week for the Highlanders as they visit Midwest City in the first of several big District 5A-1 matchups coming in the weeks ahead. However, the Bombers were handed their first district loss Friday, losing to El Reno, 27-14.