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Tigers use strong 3rd quarter to beat Noble

Beau Bearden
bbearden@gannett.com

NOBLE — The Ardmore and Noble high school football teams wasted little time Friday night by combining for 49 first-half points. All signs pointed to that continuing, but the Tigers’ strong defensive effort in the third quarter helped shift the tone in a 49-27 win over Noble.

“The third quarter was where we won the ball game,” said Ardmore head coach Josh Newby. “We kept the ball away from them and we were able to score. In the fourth quarter, we kept our composure. We about lost it, but we kept our composure and we were able to finish. I’m super proud of the kids. We’re finally growing up a little bit.”

The Tigers proved that by turning a high-scoring affair into a one-sided game. Noble received the ball to start the second half and could have drove down the field to tie it 28-28.

Instead, Dakaree Scott made a tremendous grab for an interception, which put Ardmore in prime position to score. Antone Scallion did that three plays later when he punched it in from six yards out for a 35-21 advantage.

The Tigers pushed their lead to 21 points when Cal Swanson found Jackson Hedger on an 18-yard touchdown pass with 2:13 left in the third quarter. That was plenty to clinch the victory as Ardmore held Noble scoreless from 9:02 in the second quarter to 9:50 in the fourth.

“I thought it was a total team win,” Newby said. “Our running game finally got going and Cal (Swanson) did a great job in the passing game. We have to make some improvements on offense and defense. But overall in the end, I was proud of the kids’ effort. We still have a long way to go to improve, but our kids are willing to get there.”

Scallion led the Tigers with 31 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns, while Donald May added 144 yards and a score.

Swanson went 5-of-10 for 144 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by a 70-yard strike to Hedger in the first quarter. Hedger finished with three catches for 100 yards and two scores, while Andrew Mendoza caught a 33-yard touchdown with 3:09 left in the game.

“This is our first back-to-back games of the year,” Newby said. “So we’re finally figuring out who we are and we’re finally correcting the mistakes that we see in live action. We’ve made a bunch of growth from our El Reno game to now — and it’s because we’re seeing moving parts.”

Ardmore (4-2 overall, 3-2 District 5A-1) is back home against MacArthur (6-2, 3-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6. The Highlanders last played on Oct. 23 when they defeated Altus 61-6.

“Lawton MacArthur is coached very well, coach Brett (Manning) does an amazing job with his kids,” Newby said. “And he’ll have them ready coming into our place. I’m sure they practiced two weeks on us because they had Capitol Hill cancel. He’ll have his kids ready to go, but so will we.”