In a 5A face-off, Homecoming turned into a sour night for the Noble Bears as the Ardmore Tigers used a fourth-quarter surge, their second of the season, to come back and win 27-21 under the Friday night lights.


In a 5A face-off, Homecoming turned into a sour night for the Noble Bears as the Ardmore Tigers used a fourth-quarter surge, their second of the season, to come back and win 27-21 under the Friday night lights.


“(The resiliency) is a tribute to the kids,” said head coach Larry McBroom. “Certainly they fought hard and you have to take your hat off to them. They never quit.”


Quarterback Reed Downing gave the Tigers a 27-21 lead once he found Ricco Murph for a 15-yard touchdown pass with 48 seconds left.


The Bears controlled the tempo for a large portion of the game until the final few minutes when Ardmore decided to take over. The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 in District 5A-2) used a huge drive that started in the late moments of the third quarter and lasted 4 minutes, 9 seconds, ending in a 16-yard touchdown run by sophomore Andra Brown with 8:13 left in the game to cut the score to 14-12.


The Tigers elected to go for the two-point conversion, and it turned out well with a gutsy call. Ardmore used a misdirection pass and junior Downing found sophomore tight end Cody Nall in the far left corner of the end.


“It was a play that we had worked on this week,” McBroom said. “Our coaches did a good job in designing that, and in the execution of it, the players did a really good job of executing it.”
But the scoring drive would not have been capped had the Tigers not completed two very important late-down conversions.


On a short fourth-and-four, Downing found sophomore wide receiver Levonte Douglas for a gain of five to move the sticks. Moments later, Downing completed a third-and-seven to another sophomore wide receiver, this time Murph.


After that, it seemed the momentum would be all in favor of Ardmore.


The Tigers forced a fumble that popped into junior defensive lineman Henry Alexander’s arms, and he ran in from 25 yards out for the 21-14 lead after the extra point.


But Noble wasn’t just going to roll over on its homecoming night.


The Bears found the end zone on one more occasion. This time, they scored on a quick drive that went three plays for 68 yards, culminating in a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chad Davidson to junior wide receiver Austin Mann with 1:28 left in the game.


Ardmore had the winning answer. Six plays, 80 yards and 40 seconds later, the Tigers scored, but they failed on the extra point attempt.


But with only 48 seconds left the game should be over, right? Not quite. The Bears had ne last gasp, starting at their own 20-yard line.


They marched all the way to the Tigers’ 10-yard line with 3.5 seconds left, when Davidson’s pass fell incomplete on the goal line.


Ardmore remains unbeaten with wins over Ada (14-7), Duncan (20-17, overtime), McAlester (18-10) and now Noble. (Downing rushed for the winning touchdown in OT at Duncan.) But McBroom said there is plenty to work on after a game like this.


“We’ve got to get some things corrected or else we’re going to have a long next week,” McBroom said.


The No. 1 team in the state, Guthrie, will make its way into Ardmore next week.


Ardmore got onto the board first at the 6:19 mark in the first quarter when Brown ran in from 15 yards out. Noble tied it up with just under a minute to go in the first half when senior running back Jake McElhany scampered in for a two yard score, leading to a deadlock at the break.
The Bears came out in the third determined to shut down Ardmore’s offense. They did it for a while, and they scored the first points of the second frame when Davidson used a quarterback sneak for the 12-6 lead.


They tacked on a two-point conversation with a Davidson rush that put Ardmore in the hole they had to dig out of in the fourth quarter.


Noble led Ardmore in first downs 19 to 12, but overall yards were almost identical, with Ardmore having gained 280 and Noble 277, giving an indication of exactly how close the game was.