If there was one letter that could be associated with Ardmore’s game Friday night against Noble, it would be the letter “C”.
If there was one letter that could be associated with Ardmore’s game Friday night against Noble, it would be the letter “C”. Chances, Chaos, and Controversy. All three things occurred on Friday night at Noble Stadium, at times going for and against the Tigers. The end result though was one Tigers fans would rather forget, as the Bears clinched the District 5A-1 championship with a 42-28 victory. With the defeat, the Tigers dropped to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in district play. Ardmore can finish no better than third in the district standings, and will be on the road in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Ardmore will finish the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday in Oklahoma City against Western Heights, and will either face Piedmont, Carl Albert or Bishop McGuinness in the first round of the playoffs. “I didn’t like the way we started the game, but I was proud of the way our kids fought back to get a lead before halftime,” Ardmore coach Josh Newby said. “In the third quarter we needed to sustain some offensive drives, and we didn’t do that. We’ve also got to play smarter in our special teams and defensively. There was a span of time where the game got away from us, and we just need to be better on special teams and on defense.” “Our kids energy and passion in the first half was incredible,” Newby added. “I need to do a better job of putting the kids in better coverages when it comes to the empty set package, and make better decisions there. The way the kids played was great, but we need to be smarter at times.” Noble kicked off to Ardmore to start the game, but it was the Bears who took advantage of a miscommunication by the Tigers and recovered the ball at the Ardmore 41-yard line. It took just four plays for Noble quarterback Austin Fisher to find Trevor Lorenz for a 25-yard touchdown pass and a 6-0 lead after the extra point was blocked. Ardmore was then finally able to go to work as the Tigers put together an eight-play 60-yard drive which concluded with Creed Cox connecting with Jaamarre Williams for a 29 yard touchdown pass and a 7-6 lead at the 6:20 mark. Fisher and Lorenz needed less than a minute to strike back as the duo turned a 3rd and 13 into a 72-yard touchdown pass and a 12-7 lead for the Bears at the 5:23 mark. After the teams exchanged punts, the Tigers managed to grab the lead before the end of the first quarter. Cox found Anthony Jones for a 23-yard touchdown pass, with the senior just managing to keep his feet in bounds, giving the Tigers a 14-12 lead. Ardmore then got a bit of luck on both sides of the ball. First it was Donald May getting an interception off Fisher which took multiple deflections at the Tigers 17-yard line to stop the Bears from taking the lead. On Ardmore’s ensuing drive, the Tigers faced a 3rd and 2 at their own 15-yard line, to which Birch Wood converted with three yards for a first down. However, the Tigers were flagged for a personal foul, but the officials judged the penalty occurred after the play was dead, leaving the Noble sideline furious. After Cox found Raven Henderson for an eight yard gain on a screen pass, Williams did the rest as he took a handoff and dashed his way 83 yards for the touchdown, giving Ardmore what seemed to be a strong 21-12 lead at the 7:12 mark. Noble then managed to put together another sustained drive, only to have it thwarted by Alijah Pickens, who stripped Fisher of the ball at the Tigers eight yard line and returned it to the Noble 46. Ardmore unfortunately couldn’t convert on the ensuing possession, as the Bears responded with a 41 yard touchdown pass from Austin Fisher to Braden Fisher, making it 21-18 at the half. But the worst was yet to come. Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter, before the Bears regained the lead with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Fisher to Fisher to make it 26-21 after the two-point conversion. Before that score though, Ardmore had been gifted a personal foul penalty on a 4th down as Cox was tackled over on a punt, giving the Tigers possession at the 22-yard line. On the next play, Williams dashed up past midfield, and appeared to give Ardmore prime field position after being taken down with a horse collar tackle. As the official threw the flag, the Ardmore fans erupted, but were soon brought to boos as the crew instead called Ardmore for a face mask, with no explanation given leaving the Tigers back at their own 31 yard line, instead of being past midfield . On the ensuing kickoff, another miscommunication led to chaos as the Tigers fumbled the ball, leading to Noble recovering in the end zone for a touchdown to make it 34-21. Noble got one more score in the fourth to make it 42-21, before Williams gave Ardmore a late consolation with a 36-yard rushing touchdown to make it 42-28. Austin Fisher finished the game 14-of-19 passing for 234 yards and four touchdowns, while Cox finished with 85 yards passing and 29 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Williams totaled nine carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns with one catch for 29 yards and one touchdown.