When opportunity knocks, its best to answer it without hesitating.

When opportunity knocks, its best to answer it without hesitating.

Ardmore’s Creed Cox didn’t just answer Friday night, he knocked the door down and then some.

Filling in under center in his first true start, the sophomore stand-in provided a much needed spark in the second half for the Tigers with three touchdowns, leading to a 37-13 victory over El Reno on Homecoming night in the district opener.

Perhaps the only damper on the night was for the third straight game at home, Ardmore faced a halftime deficit down 13-3. 

Only this time, AHS left no doubt who the better team was in the second half.

“This was Creed’s first start, and he is a very tough kid,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “We started off a little rocky, but he stayed steady. I’d put him up against anyone, he’s that good of a kid.”

“To be brutally honest though, our defensive effort has got to be better from the beginning,” Newby added. “I was proud of the effort in the second half, but that needs to be happening from the first snap of the game. Our kids are still improving though and they know that.”

The turning point of the game came in the most unlikely of circumstances near the end of the first half.

Having just scored a touchdown off a 32-yard pass from Indians quarterback Gage Arnold to Dyson Plumley on a 4th and 11, El Reno was gifted two offsides penalties against the Tigers, putting them near the goal line for the extra point.

Instead of going for the kick, the Indians went for two instead.

The gamble didn’t pay off as Ardmore got a defensive stop, with the Tigers heading into the locker room down 13-3.

There wouldn’t be much to cheer about for El Reno in the second half.

Less than four minutes and eight plays into the third quarter, Ardmore was back in the game, thanks to Cox’s first touchdown of the game, a four-yard scramble which made it 13-10.

Following an El Reno three and out, the Tigers offense went back to work, and it was Cox again pushing his way into the end zone through a pile of players, giving Ardmore the lead at 17-13 with 4:39 left in the third quarter.

AHS’ defense came up with a second consecutive three and out on the Indians offense, and once again it was Cox making them pay.

This time it was through the air, as the sophomore found Braeden Vance on a bubble screen, dashing 45-yards down the sideline for another Tigers touchdown, putting Ardmore up 24-13 with less than two minutes to go in the third quarter.

“Our coaches told us at the half that our performance wasn’t good enough in the first half,” Cox said. “We just stepped it up in that second half. I was just going with whatever the coaches told me to do out there. I was fortunate enough they gave me the ball and I just wanted to help my team out. This is a great feeling for me and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Both teams were held in check for the remainder of the third quarter, but the fourth started with a bang for the Tigers.

Cameron Petties rumbled his way in for a touchdown from 19-yards out, making it 30-13 after the failed point after attempt less than 30 seconds into the fourth.

Petties wasn’t finished though as he saved his best run for the end of the game, when he sealed the victory with a 75-yard touchdown run putting Ardmore up 37-13 with 4:15 left in the fourth.

“Before the play my tight end told me the play was going to be be 28 toss,” Petties said about his 75-yard run. “I told them I was going to try and get a touchdown. As soon as they got me the ball I saw a hole and I just took it. They told me afterwards there was no one near me and I was so excited and just full of energy out there.”

“I just saw all the blocks out there when I was running,” Petties added. “Creed (Cox) got me the ball and I was just worried about getting first downs. We know what it’s like to be down, and we know how to scratch, claw and fight our way back. Creed stepped up and really motivated me and the rest of the guys out there tonight.”

Ardmore first got on the board courtesy of a 36-yard field goal from Raphael Interiano with 4:10 left in the second quarter.

Arnold connected with Plumley earlier in the second quarter to put El Reno in front 7-0 with a 32-yard touchdown pass.

Petties finished the game with 11 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns.

Cox finished with 81 total yards of offense with three touchdowns on the evening.

Ardmore (3-1, 1-0) will be on the road Friday night in Oklahoma City taking on the Southeast Spartans in district play.