Ardmore football wins thriller over Lawton MacArthur with last-second FG block

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ardmore's Jackson Hedger runs down the field Friday night against Lawton MacArthur. The senior hauled in seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers' 41-40 win.

In a game that went down to the wire, the Ardmore High School football team showed its resiliency Friday night to beat Lawton MacArthur 41-40 in a thrilling district battle.

“It was an amazing finish,” said Tigers head coach Josh Newby. “Total compliments to the kids. They never gave up. They fought to the bitter end. I’m super proud of them.”

It’s safe to say everyone was on the edge of their seat in the final seconds, but Ardmore’s defense stepped up in crunch time — twice.

The Highlanders' first field-goal attempt from the four-yard line sailed wide, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave them another shot. The Tigers made sure the second kick didn't get very far as a block sealed the win.

And while Ardmore held off MacArthur, it couldn’t tally enough district points to earn the district crown and finished in second place.

“We tried to do everything we possibly could to win by 10, but MacArthur is a good football team and they executed,” Newby said. “We were just glad to get out of Lawton with a win. Any time you go to Lawton, Oklahoma and win a ballgame, it’s big.”

That victory gives the Tigers plenty of momentum going into the postseason, especially since the offense racked up 457 yards of total offense. Ardmore leaned on the passing game though, as Cal Swanson went 25-of-36 for 339 yards and three touchdowns.

The junior utilized a trio of receivers, with Jackson Hedger hauling in seven catches for 84 yards and two scores. Meanwhile, Jalen Reed finished with six receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown and Dakaree Scott tallied nine catches for 84 yards.

“I was super proud of our offensive execution,” Newby said. “The kids ran hard, and we executed our passing game. Cal Swanson was amazing being efficient with the football. We did what we had to do to win. We found a way right there at the bitter end. It was a tough win.”

The rushing attack also played a role in the victory. Antone Scallion carried the ball 26 times for 90 yards and a score, while Ricky Smith rushed for a 12-yard touchdown.

With all of that said, the Tigers can take plenty away from this hard-fought road win.

“Learning how to play in these tough ballgames is big for our kids because that’s the way it’s going to be in the playoffs,” Newby said. “It’s razor thin as far as mistakes, so you better learn how to do things really well.”

Ardmore looks to do that as it welcomes Bishop McGuinness to town at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12. The Irish finished the regular season at 6-4 overall and 4-2 in District 5A-2.

“Bishop McGuinness has good football players,” Newby said. “They have a great tailback and a great receiver, Paul Tarman. They’re executing at a high level on offense. We’re going to have our hands full, but we’re happy to host a first-round playoff game in Ardmore. We’re excited about it.”