Ringling football clinches trip to Class A State Championship game with win over Morrison

Beau Bearden
The Daily Ardmoreite
Ringling's Chase Taylor receives the handoff from Karson Daniel as Kaden Barron (11) sets up to block. Barron rushed for a pair of touchdowns Friday night in a 13-12 win over Morrison in the Class A semifinals.

OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s not often that a game is decided on one play, but it’s safe to say that was the case Friday night.

The Ringling High School football team had just watched a seven-point lead shrink to one, but Brayden Johnson’s crucial tackle on a two-point conversion helped seal a 13-12 win over Morrison during the Class A semifinals at Western Heights High School.

“I just knew we had to get the stop to win the game,” Johnson said. “That’s what we had to do.”

The senior proved he lets his game do the talking and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Blue Devils looked to be on their way to a 13-6 win until a conversational call resulted in Morrison returning a fumble for a touchdown with 1:58 remaining in the game.

“Rance Wilson fumbled at the end, which I didn’t think was a fumble,” said Ringling head coach Phil Koons. “I thought he was down and it was a way late call. Nevertheless, I’m elated. We’re going to the state championship.”

The Blue Devils can take solace in the fact that they’re headed back to the Class A State Championship for the second time in three years, but the officials didn’t do them any favors.

Wilson’s fumble recovery for six points shouldn’t have even happened as his progress was stopped and it appeared whistles were blown. The score wasn’t overturned, but it didn’t matter as Johnson stepped up with the play of the night.

“Brayden is a stud,” said Ringling quarterback Karson Daniel. “He’s been a stud all year, a star player.”

Daniel proved he’s just as much of a star with several big completions in crunch time. Caleb Taylor was his favorite target as the sophomore hauled in four passes for 75 yards.

However, the Blue Devils leaned on their rushing attack to get the win as six different athletes carried the ball.

Ringling junior Kaden Barron led the way with two touchdowns, but Daniel and Wilson also played a crucial role in the win.

“It means everything,” Daniel said of advancing to the state title game. “That’s what Ringling’s about, it’s what you do here. Great coaches and a great team around you. It’s just awesome.”

The Blue Devils have lived up to that greatness over the past three years.

The last time Ringling dropped a regular season game was Sept. 6, 2019. It’s even more impressive that the Blue Devils have only lost once since then — a one-point decision to Thomas-Fay-Custer in last year’s Class A semifinals.

“The culture is set,” Koons said. “It’s not going to be like that every year, but we’ve had some really good kids. It’s not coach Koons, but it’s them buying into the program and kids working hard. We’ll take it.”

Ringling now prepares for Cashion in the state title game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11 at University of Central Oklahoma. The Blue Devils last battled the Wildcats in 2019 when they won it all with a 20-14 win.

“Morrison is a well-coached team, they’re physical,” Koons said. “(But) our guys, what can you say — you win a two-touchdown game and stop them on two 2-point plays. I’m so proud of our kids and proud of our team. We’re going to the finals, and we deserve it. They were warriors out there.”