TiGERS End Season in Clinton

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CLINTON – A memorable entry to 4A football came to a close Friday in Clinton as the Cushing Tigers fell 49-20 in the fist round of the high school football state playoffs. Moving into district 4A2 for the 2018-19 seasons, Cushing opened the year with a remarkably challenging three-game non-district slate and then inherited one of the toughest schedules in the state.

The Tigers found their rhythm with a wildcat offense and an athletic defensive unit. Wil Moyer climbed to the top-5 of the Tulsa World’s quarterback leaderboard with nearly 2,400 passing yards. He led a menacing passing attack from the first kickoff of the season. Under first-year coach Rusty Morgan, the Tigers rebounded from an 0-3 start to win the first three district games and set up an entertaining run toward the playoffs.

“Whirlwind,” Morgan said, addressing the season in a postgame interview with James Coffelt. “Overall message is I’m extremely proud of these kids overcoming so much this year... they’ve battled through a tough schedule. “We’ll talk a lot more in the next few days... right now I’m really proud of these guys. They deserve to be in the position they’re in.”

Clinton (10-1 overall) had too much staying power Friday night, rushing for 388 big-play yards as a team on just 40 plays from scrimmage. Morgan’s Tigers trailed 35-6 at halftime and struggled trying to climb out of that hole away from O’Dell Field.

This game featured flashes of Cushing’s trademark plays throughout the year. Moyer found Keaton Crooks open on a quick route in the first quarter that turned into a 41-yard touchdown. Chance Kindley converted the point-after attempt. Trevor Ailey rushed for two touchdowns, including the two final scores of the game, and the Tigers completed a two-point conversion sneaking quarterback Dane Palmer into the lineup for a completion to Elijah Howell. Palmer’s first cameo under center came in Week 4 after Moyer suffered a leg injury late in the game against Berryhill. Working against an eager defense, Palmer was efficient in relief, completing three of his four passing attempts for 27 yards. Cushing didn’t have the same freedom moving the ball against Clinton, though. The Tigers were limited to an uncharacteristic 79 passing yards on 16 attempts.

The season ends with four wins, seven losses and a winning 4-3 district mark. “The community (of Cushing) is unbelievable,” Morgan said. “Being from Cushing and always being around Cushing, the community comes together like none other. You can definitely feel the support and you can feel it all season long.

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RDMGtv got a close up look at the speech to the team from Coach Rusty Morgan, just following the game last Friday. Coach Morgan shows the team how to be a “TiGER” even after a tough loss to end the season, along with words of wisdom from the first year Head Coach.

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