NOBLE — Revenge is a dish best served cold.
NOBLE — Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Friday night, the No. 2 Ardmore Tigers were more than happy to supply a heaping helping of it, along with a district title.
Ardmore broke open a 14-14 game with two touchdowns before halftime, leading to a 42-20 victory over the Noble Bears at Noble Stadium, giving the Tigers their second straight district 5A-1 championship.
The victory avenged a loss in the 2017 state quarterfinals for the Tigers, when the Bears were victorious at Ardmore.
Ardmore (9-0, 6-0) will finish its regular season at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at home against Western Heights.
Noble meanwhile fell to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in district play, and will miss the playoffs one year after making the state semifinals.
“It was very important to the kids and the staff to win this game tonight,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said.
“After what happened in the playoffs last year, it’s nice coming out of here with a win. I’m very proud of the way these kids handled adversity. Their quarterback (Hayden Lingle) and their receivers (Antywan Smith, Isiah Willhoite) are as good as anyone we’ve seen this season.”
“Ardmore is a special community to me,” Newby added. “This community has been very special and very good to me and my family for more than 20 years. I’ve got a great group of kids and a great staff, so this district title means a lot to all of us and to the community.”
Noble certainly brought the fight to the Tigers in the first half, becoming just the fourth team this season to tie Ardmore.
The Bears managed to even the score at 7-7 and 14-14 in the second quarter, but it was there that the Tigers took control of the contest before halftime, in the span of 39 seconds.
First, Jadrein Monroe put the Tigers back in front at 21-14 when he pushed his way in from five yards out for the touchdown.
Rafael Interiano converted the extra point, giving the Tigers what seemed to be a slight advantage going into the halftime break with 0:39 left in the first half.
However, Noble managed to eat up huge chunks of yardage, moving from its own 20-yard line to the Tigers 25-yard line in just three plays, setting up a field goal attempt from Caton Myers, with seconds left before the end of the first half.
But there was one last twist in the plot for Ardmore going into halftime.
Mylic Ritche managed to push his way through the Bears offensive line and block the attempted field goal, which was subsequently scooped up by Nathan Taylor.
Taylor then dashed his way 70-yards for a touchdown, sending the Ardmore side of Noble Stadium into a frenzy.
After the Interiano extra point, the Tigers went into halftime leading 28-14.
“I had to crash down on the tackle, and I did my job,” Taylor said about the blocked field goal. “Mylic busted through the gap and got a good block on it. I just saw it bounce and I was praying it would come to me, and once it did I just took off from there. When I saw the kicker coming I knew I had to get my knees up and I just kept running from there.”
“That was a huge momentum swing for us,” Taylor added. “We felt that momentum in the locker room and having a 14-point lead instead of a seven or four point lead made a huge difference for us coming out in the second half.”
Coach Newby added a lot of the credit for the field goal block goes to his coaching staff, who have been paying attention to using Ritche in situations like the one similar to Friday night.
“To be honest, Coach Naylor has been talking about using Mylic and his length to get blocks like that,” he said.
“He’s been doing a great job coaching him up about doing that, and it paid off in a big way tonight.”
With less than three minutes to go in the third, Ardmore drove another blow to the Bears when Cameron Petties scored from eight yards out to make it 35-14.
Tero Roberts put the icing on the cake just 52 seconds into the fourth quarter when he dashed his was 77-yards for a touchdown, putting Ardmore up 42-14.
Lingle would connect with Antywan Smith for a 49 yard touchdown pass just under two minutes later, but the extra point was blocked, leaving Noble at a 42-20 deficit.
Eean Ross was the story in the first quarter for the Tigers as he scored a pair of touchdowns from one and 17 yards out to help give Ardmore the lead at 7-0 and 14-7.
It was a solid night for Lingle as he finished with 403 yards passing.
Ardmore was led by Tero Roberts who finished with 13 carries for 203 yards rushing and one touchdown. He also had 35 yards passing on the night.
Cameron Petties finished with 13 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown, with Jadrein Monroe totaling 13 carries for 53 yards and one touchdown.
Eean Ross finished with 11 carries for 33 yards with two touchdowns.