Lone Grove football rallies, but falls short at Sulphur
It’s not often that a squad can recover from a 24-point deficit in the fourth quarter. That usually puts the nail in the coffin, but the Lone Grove High School football team showed that it’s never over until the clock hits triple zeros.
Unfortunately, the Longhorns couldn’t complete the rally in a 44-41 loss to Sulphur.
“We don’t give up here. That’s a fact,” said Lone Grove head coach Curtis Cole. “If you watched us all season, it doesn’t matter what the score is, we just keep going. That’s all these guys know.”
The Longhorns lived up to those words by scoring 21 points in a span of 1:38 with the help of a pair of onside-kick recoveries.
Lone Grove trailed 44-20 for most of the fourth quarter until Caden Gilmore found Cale McLean on a 14-yard touchdown strike with 4:55 remaining. Gilmore then tallied the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 44-28.
That’s when the Longhorns’ special teams stepped up with a pair of recoveries that resulted in 13 points. Gilmore found JJ Miller on a 29-yard score at the 4:06 mark, followed by Braxton Sparks showing off his agility on a 39-yard touchdown scamper with 3:17 in the game.
However, the third time wasn’t the charm as Lone Grove couldn’t get the ball back again.
“It would have been nice to finish it out,” Cole said. “Maybe recover the last onside kick, but it is what it is.”
However, even in a loss, it’s tough to overlook Gilmore’s outstanding outing.
The junior signal caller completed 21-of-32 passes for 272 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a one-yard score. Cale McLean was his favorite target as the junior hauled in 10 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
“Those two have a pretty solid connection,” Cole said of Gilmore and McLean. “They know where each other are at and they do a pretty good job overall.”
Shawn Johnson also played a role in the offense with three receptions for 27 yards and a score.
Meanwhile, Sulphur bounced back from its loss to Plainview to clinch second place in the district.
“We played a lot better than we did last week,” said Bulldogs head coach Jim Dixon. “Now, Plainview has a good team. They’re going to go a long way, but we improved this week.”
Both squads are back in action in the first round of the 3A state playoffs.
Sulphur hosts Anadarko at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12, while Lone Grove makes the trek to Perkins-Tryon at the same time.
“We’re going to have to be good on the road, there’s no doubt about that,” Cole said. “With us being the third seed, we’re going to have to be road warriors from here on out.”