While Friday night might have been billed as the “Battle of the Tigers”, there was only one pack of Tigers roaring when the horn sounded at Noble Stadium.

While Friday night might have been billed as the “Battle of the Tigers”, there was only one pack of Tigers roaring when the horn sounded at Noble Stadium.

No. 2 Ardmore used a 21-point first half to earn control over Coweta, leading to a 48-13 victory in the Class 5A state quarterfinals, moving Ardmore to 12-0 on the season, while ending Coweta’s season at 5-7.

Next up for Ardmore is the state semifinals, which will come against No. 5 Bishop Kelley at 7 p.m. Friday night at Western Heights High School in Oklahoma City. 

The game will mark the first appearance in the semifinals for Ardmore since 2016, and the sixth time the program has made the final four since its last state title in 1992. 

“I’m so excited for these kids and these coaches,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “They have all put in so much hard work, and our kids have such a willingness to improve. Now we have to go play Bishop Kelley and we will have to play well.” 

Ardmore stamped its authority on the game very early in the first quarter, although Coweta did its best to put a scare into the defensive unit.

Coweta junior quarterback JD Geneva used his arm to get his team into scoring position at the Ardmore 21-yard line after a 37 yard pass to Bransyn Stevens.

However, on the very next play, Geneva went back to the well searching for a touchdown, but instead found the waiting arms of Michael Bruner, who made a sliding catch for an interception at the one-yard line.

“They (Coweta) had gotten a few routes on me, and got me a few times on that opening drive,” Bruner said about the first possession. “I had to adjust myself, so I just baited them and made sure I caught it on that throw. That was a big momentum swing for us.”

“With what happened last year in the second round, this feels like redemption,” Bruner added. “This feels really good and we’re very excited right now as a team.” 

Ardmore would use its new found momentum to the fullest extent on the ensuing drive.

Eean Ross broke loose for a 71-yard touchdown run to put Ardmore up 7-0 at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter following Rafael Interiano’s extra point. 

“I thought that interception set the tone for us,” Newby said about the first quarter interception. “Michael is an incredible football player and runs the secondary for us. We just have to tell him one time to adjust something and he does it. He’s done a tremendous job for us all year long.” 

When Coweta got the ball for its second possession, it seemed as though Ardmore’s defense was going to be looking at a tie game.

However, on a fourth and goal from the one, it was Chris Lewis sacking Geneva in the backfield, slamming the door shut on the Coweta drive, keeping Ardmore in front.

As the second quarter began, Ardmore’s lead was increased.

Senior quarterback Tero Roberts found space on a first-and-goal from the five yard-line and scored easily to make it 14-0 with 10:57 left in the first half.

Coweta would manage to get a lifeline later in the quarter, thanks to a pair of Ardmore miscues.

First, a bad snap on a fourth down gave Coweta prime field position at the Ardmore 15-yard line. 

Then, after Ardmore appeared to get yet another red zone stop on Coweta, a late roughing the passer flag was issued against Ardmore, giving Coweta a fresh set of downs.

Geneva finally found his rhythm as he connected with Spencer Edwards for a four yard touchdown pass, making it 14-7 with just under five minutes left in the first half. 

But Ardmore managed to have a response, as Jadrein Monroe capped off a six-play 58-yard drive with a one yard touchdown to make it 21-7 with 2:17 left in the first half.

Ardmore flexed its offensive muscle again at the start of the third quarter, when Roberts got his second touchdown of the evening, this time from two-yards out to make it 28-7 with 8:34 left in the quarter.

Roberts made it a hat-trick just over two minutes later when he broke loose for a 37-yard touchdown to make it 35-7, before earning his fourth touchdown of the evening with less than three minutes to go in the third from 14 yards out.

Derek Peters finished the game off in the fourth when he pushed his way in from seven yards out.

Coweta managed to get one more consolation score as time expired when Geneva found Stephens from five yards out. 

“I thought our offensive line took control of the line of scrimmage tonight.” Newby said. “We knew the only chance we had was to keep number seven (JD Geneva) on the sidelines and grind the football out. Our offensive line made that happen for us.” 

Roberts finished with 12 carries for 173 yards and four touchdowns, while Ross finished with six carries for 91 yards with one touchdown.

Monroe totaled 14 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown.

Geneva finished the game 14-of-29 passing for 170 yards with two touchdowns, and was sacked four times in the contest.