STILLWATER — Near misses and could-haves.
The Davis Wolves fell just short, dropping a thrilling and heartbreaking 44-41 decision to Oklahoma Christian School in the Class 2A state championship Saturday in Stillwater.
In a game that went back and forth all night, the Saints (14-1) got in a couple more punches than the Wolves (13-1), thanks to a career-defining performance from senior quarterback Austin Brooks, who threw for 384 yards and five touchdowns.
Brooks' most prolific target was sophomore Connor Sikes, who caught seven balls for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
Brooks' start, however, could not have been rockier, as Davis was able to capitalize on three early interceptions, scoring 13 points of its 20 first half points on takeaways.
In fact, it was Wolves field general Alec Hetherington who looked sharper at the start, running the Davis wishbone offense with efficiency and coming up with two interceptions.
His first, on an attempted screen pass by Brooks, was returned 20 yards for a touchdown.
After his second interception went for naught when Davis lost a fumble at the 1-yard line, Chase Taliaferro stepped in and picked off yet another Brooks pass that set up Davis running back Michael Nowden for the first of his three touchdowns — this one a 20-yard burst that gave Davis a 20-13 lead with 1:27 left in the first half.
However, OCS didn't get out of its rhythm. Brooks and the Saints got right to back to work, driving down the field on an incredibly efficient drive that ended with a 7-yard touchdown pass to receiver Blake Barnes.
The second half was dominated by Brooks and the OCS passing game, which torched the Wolves vaunted defense for 300 passing yards and four touchdowns in the final 24 minutes of play, turning the game into the shootout Davis heartily wanted to avoid.
The Wolves didn't quit, matching every OCS score but one, a Michael Blakely 20-yard field goal that gave the Saints a 37-27 lead with 9:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Though Davis would never even the score again, the teams matched each other blow for blow to the bitter end.
Davis missed out on its best chance to steal a late win. With OCS driving to a first-and-goal with just over 3 minutes left and leading 37-34, the Wolves held on the first two downs before Hetherington dropped a sure interception on third down.
That allowed Brooks to complete a 5-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal to extend the lead to 10.
Davis marched down the field and scored again, this time on a Hetherington 20-yard pass to Nowden.
Once again, OCS drove to first-and-goal before burning the clock down to 17 seconds and giving the ball back to Davis.
Hetherington's desperation pass was intercepted by Barnes with 12 seconds left to seal the win for the Saints.