LAWTON — Darius Graham had 301 yards and four scores, and Miguel Rosario caught five passes for 105 yards and two touchdown passes from Ricky McCarty as Lawton MacArthur rolled 41-20 over Ardmore in District 5A-1 action at Cameron Stadium.
It was a close game early on, as both teams felt each other out. Mac built a 20-6 lead into the second quarter before Ardmore (5-5, 4-3 District 5A-1) clawed back to tie the game with 7:24 left in the first half.
"When it was 27-20, it just clicked," Graham said. "I said, 'hold on, we beat them 56-2 in the semifinals and we are sitting here on our home field on our Senior Night. Let's go!'"
That's when Graham took over.
After the Tigers had tied the game, Graham became a bulldozer, scoring on touchdown runs of 63, 79 and 21 yards to compliment his 18-yarder earlier in the first quarter.
"I said a little prayer to God and then I got that long run," Graham said. "I give all credit to him and to my line."
Much of Graham's yardage came after first contact, as Ardmore did a good job of swarming to the ball at the line of scrimmage. However, the Tigers struggled to bring down the formidable Graham, who muscled his way out of traffic, then used stiff arms and spin moves to shake off would-be tacklers.
Graham reached the 301 mark on his final carry when he broke off the right side and nearly scored on a 16-yard run. That got the ball to the Ardmore 4, and the Highlanders decided to take a knee from there.
"We were just trying to get the first down so we could run the clock out," Manning said.
The game was close up to the 9:41 mark in the fourth, the time of Graham's 79-yard touchdown to put the Highlanders up 34-20. Up to that point, Ardmore on drive after drive threatened and moved the ball with its option offense.
Quarterback Clay Atwood led the way for the Tigers with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
"The defense played much better in the second half, they didn't have a very good first half," Manning said. "I was disappointed in their lack of tackling the first half. The second half they turned it on and got their intensity up."
The Highlanders will open the playoffs at home against defending 5A state champion Guthrie. Lawton MacArthur had its title dream dashed in the championship game against those same Bluejays last season.
Ardmore will open up the postseason on the road against 5A-2 champion Deer Creek.