At any given time in a playoff season, a Cinderella story is always possible.

At any given time in a playoff season, a Cinderella story is always possible.

Unfortunately for the No. 5 Ardmore Tigers, Cinderella took the form of the Noble Bears Friday night.

Despite fighting back from a 14-0 deficit in the first half, the Tigers couldn’t take the lead in the second half, resulting in a 28-14 defeat in the State Quarterfinals from Noble Stadium in Ardmore.

The defeat was the first time the Tigers have lost a home playoff game since 2013, as Ardmore finished its season at 9-3.

“First of all you have to give credit to Noble,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “I thought their kids executed very well and are well coached. You have to give them credit for what they did tonight. I’m proud of the kids who came in and filled in for us. We were pretty beat up with injuries, and it just wasn’t our night tonight.”

“We’ve got to learn something from this game,” Newby added. “We need to make sure going forward we match other teams physicality when we step on the field with them.”

Ardmore found its groove in the second quarter on both sides of the ball, after enduring more than its fair share of struggles in the first.

On Noble’s first drive of the frame, it was Joseph Clark coming up with a deflection on a 4th and 4 at the Tigers’ 28-yard line, giving Ardmore the ball back on offense.

Seven plays later on a 4th and goal from the three yard line, sophomore quarterback Creed Cox pushed his way into the end zone, cutting the deficit in half at 14-7 following the extra point by Rafael Interiano with 6:25 remaining before halftime.

AHS’ defense bent but didn’t break on its next trip against the Bears offense, and it paid off shortly after.

Following a chop block penalty against the Tigers which negated a short gain by Chantz Scurry, it was Clark taking the ball and dashing up the field 50-yards for the touchdown following several jukes around numerous Noble defenders. 

With 2:14 left before halftime, the game was all square and it looked as though Ardmore was about to pull off yet another comeback at home.

It was a dream start to the second half for the Tigers defense when junior lineman Trenzel Johnson fell on top of a fumble on Noble’s first possession, giving the Tigers a chance to take the lead for the first time.

Eight plays later though, the Tigers were forced into a 4th and 10 from the Noble 20-yard line.

The resulting pass fell harmlessly to the ground, and the Bears took over on downs.

Then came the backbreaking drive of the game.

Despite enduring a clock-draining drive which spanned 29-yards in eight plays, the Tigers had forced the Bears into a 3rd and 13 at their own 49-yard line.

Moments later an incomplete pass appeared to give Ardmore a lifeline as Noble was to punt the ball. However, that’s not what happened.

A controversial pass interference call was flagged near the Ardmore sideline, resulting in an eruption from the Tigers faithful. The end result meant the Bears maintained control of the ball, and even worse now had it inside Tigers territory at the 32-yard line.

Four plays later, Bears senior running back Danny Arebalo raced his way into the end zone from 13-yards out, giving Noble a 21-14 lead with 41 seconds left in the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter began, the Tigers offense was moving down the field looking to respond.

But, Ardmore was stuffed on a 4th and 3 at the Noble 30-yard line, giving the Bears back the ball.

NHS was eventually held on its next possession, but not before Arebalo pinned the Tigers at their own 1-yard line on a punt.

Once again, AHS was forced into a 4th down situation, as the Tigers were stopped again, giving Noble the ball at the Ardmore 17-yard line with a chance to ice the game.

Arebalo took full advantage of the opportunity given to him as he ran it in from three yards out making it 28-14 with less than two minutes to go in regulation.

Noble got an interception on the ensuing Tigers offensive drive, effectively sealing its first trip to the state semifinals in school history.

Isaiah Willhoite got the opening touchdown of the game for the Bears on an eight-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, before Bears quarterback Hayden Lingle found Arebalo for a five-yard touchdown reception. 

Arebalo finished with 35 carries for 214 yards rushing.

Ardmore was led by Clark who finished with 11 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown, while Scurry also carried the ball 11 times for 105 yards.

Cox finished the game with 12 carries for 70 yards and one touchdown.

Ardmore will graduate nine seniors off this seasons squad, including Chantz Scurry and Braeden Vance, along with Jakwan Anderson and Joseph Clark.