LAWTON — During the 2005 season, the Ardmore Tigers were led by Jermaine Gresham, who would eventually go on to standout in the NFL years later.

LAWTON — During the 2005 season, the Ardmore Tigers were led by Jermaine Gresham, who would eventually go on to standout in the NFL years later.

Friday night, the Tigers were led by senior quarterback Creed Cox, who helped make history.

Cox accounted for three total touchdowns, as the Tigers defeated the Lawton MacArthur Highlanders 35-21, marking the first time an Ardmore team has won at Cameron Stadium since 2005.

More importantly, Ardmore moved to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in district play with the victory.

“It feels incredible,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “The last time we won over here, Jermaine Gresham did most of the work for us. These kids played so hard and gritty. We made some mistakes that we need to correct, but I couldn’t be more proud of the effort these kids gave.”

“Both sides played well tonight,” Newby added. “We had two kids on the offensive line who had never played varsity football out there. I was so proud of the young offensive line we had. We made some mistakes, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. I appreciate the community of Ardmore and the school district for being so patient with us and supporting us like they have.”

Both teams had their chances to score in the first quarter, but it was the defenses who stole the show.

Ardmore prevented MacArthur from getting a field goal early on thanks to a fumbled snap, before the Tigers turned it over on their offensive possession.

But it was a turnover near the end of the first quarter by the Highlanders which allowed Ardmore to begin its path towards the opening score.

Quincy Walker managed to break through and force a fumble to which Alijah Pickens recovered, giving the Tigers the ball at the MacArthur 32-yard line.

Just five seconds into the second quarter, Ardmore was on the board as Cox found a wide open Raven Henderson down the middle of the field for a 37-yard touchdown strike to make it 7-0 after the extra point by Alejandro Flores. 

Unfortunately, the lead was short-lived as MacArthur’s Aeron Woodson broke loose on the ensuing kickoff and dashed his way 95-yards for the touchdown, tying the game at 7-7 with 11:41 left before halftime.

Ardmore’s next possession was a lengthy one as the Tigers drained the clock and continued to get first downs.

The slow and steady pace eventually paid off in a big way as Birch Wood pushed his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead going into the break.

Ardmore received the ball to start the second half and took full advantage.

Less than six minutes into the third, Cox got his second touchdown of the night, this time from four yards out to make it 21-7 at the 6:50 mark.

MacArthur’s first drive of the second half was riddled with defensive pressure from the Tigers, as Ethan Lyles accounted for two sacks on the drive.

“The game two years ago showed what happens when you don’t give heart and effort,” Lyles said. “We’re undersized this year, but we’ve got so much heart. Our coaching staff had a great week of preparation for us, and it allowed me to pick up on certain things they were doing and allowed me to get through easier. I feel like we’re starting to find our identity as a team, and it’s only going to make us better.” 

Coach Newby added Lyles’ impact was felt even before the second half started in the locker room at halftime.

“Ethan stood up at halftime and reminded everyone of how much our performance hurt two years ago,” Newby said. “He stepped up tonight and took the leadership role for this team.” 

Controversy reigned supreme on the Tigers next offensive drive as Ardmore fumbled the ball, resulting in a return for a touchdown from MacArthur’s Nasir Kemper.

But the score was wiped off the board after a vicious blindside block sent Cox out of bounds and into the Ardmore sideline, resulting in a penalty on the Highlanders.

Kemper would eventually get his touchdown three plays later, which cut the Tigers lead to 21-14. 

Battered and bruised, the Tigers fought on into the fourth quarter, where Cox struck again, this time from five yards out to make it 28-14 at the 8:34 mark.

With less than three minutes to go, Cox finished off the game with his fourth touchdown of the night, making it 35-14.

MacArthur got one last score in from Kemper with 21 seconds left, but it was of little impact.

“This win is more than just about two years ago,” Cox said. “I haven’t won on this field with my teammates since seventh grade. It’s a great feeling to know that when I walk off this field my senior year that I’m going out a winner with my team.”

“A lot of people thought with all the seniors we graduated that we’d drop off,” Cox added. “We’ve got so many strong guys out there and they put in so much work everyday. We came out a little rough in the second half, but we knew we were in control. We kept our composure out there and that’s what got us rolling.”

Cox finished the game with 23 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing for another.

Anton Scallion finished with 13 carries for 73 yards, while Wood totaled 13 carries for 40 yards and two touchdowns.

Ardmore is back on the road at 7 p.m. Friday night against Altus at Hightower Memorial Stadium on the campus of Altus High School.