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Tigers tally 6 takeaways in win over Woodward

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

Momentum is unpredictable — it can either be in one squad’s favor or it can remain idle until someone takes control.

The Ardmore High School football team proved that Friday night by shifting the momentum in its favor with a number of defensive takeaways in a 35-14 win over Woodward during the play-in round of the Class 5A State Playoffs at Noble Stadium.

“Woodward is a pretty good football team and you’ve got to create energy,” said Tigers head coach Josh Newby. “Those turnovers and takeaways create energy. We finally started getting that. And we finally showed some signs of life like we wanted to actually be out there. Those turnovers and takeaways were key to the game.”

Following a scoreless first quarter, Ardmore gained the upper hand by recovering a fumble at the 10:01 mark of the second quarter. That set the tone for the rest of the night as the Tigers tallied two interceptions before halftime and picked off three more passes in the third for a whopping six takeaways.

Dakaree Scott was key for Ardmore as the junior finished with three interceptions — one in the second quarter and two in the third. Evan Smith and Jalen Reed notched the other two picks.

“Coach Naylor had a great plan,” Newby said. “Our defensive line got enough pressure and our secondary was in position. Dakaree just happened to be the lucky guy tonight. He played his position at a really high level.”

Ardmore's Dakaree Scott looks to get past a defender after making a catch on offense. The junior was instrumental on defense with three interceptions against Woodward.

And Scott’s great defensive night helped put the Tigers in prime position to score on a number of occasions. Ardmore made sure to capitalize, too, thanks in part to Donald May.

The senior was held in check early on, but found his groove with four touchdowns.

“After losing to (Lawton) Mac last week, we came back with an energy ready to win,” May said. “We were determined to get to the playoffs and keep storming through. We came in ready to play.”

May hauled in four catches for 132 yards and two scores, while also rushing for two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tigers sophomore quarterback Cal Swanson passed for 190 yards and two scores to May.

Ardmore’s Eric Fields rounded out the top performers with a nine-yard touchdown in the second quarter following one of Scott’s interceptions.

“We played our butts off this week,” Scott said. “That was one of our best defensive games this year. We’ll be ready for Carl Albert next week. We’re prepared.”

The Tigers are quite familiar with the Titans as the two teams met in the 2018 Class 5A State Championship. Ardmore fell short in that game 17-10 and last beat Carl Albert 21-14 during the first round of the 2011 playoffs.

“We realize Carl Albert’s tradition and we respect it,” Newby said. “But we’re going to go up there and we’re going to play. Our kids are going to be excited about it. We know they’re a really good football team, but we’re going to get after it.”