CUSHING – Pile on another resilient win.
Friday night in a dramatic 34-33 Homecoming victory against Tecumseh, Cushing’s Tigers came one step closer to contending for the gritty District 4A-2 crown.
They trailed at halftime, 27-14. Turned away twice on fourth down. Forced to punt on another occasion. Even after scoring the winning touchdown, Cushing’s work wasn’t done. This game wouldn’t be awarded to the faint. In the postgame interview with RDMGtv’s James Coffelt, coach Rusty Morgan described the evening from the sidelines.
“My heart’s been beating hard since about three minutes left in the first half,” Morgan said. “I love these guys.”
In the third quarter, Cushing charged back as Landon Kimmel reeled off a pair of rushing touchdowns. He went 30 yards on a handoff from Trevor Ailey to cut the deficit to 27-21, then got loose for 65 yards on a handoff from Wil Moyer which brought the score to 33-28, Tecumseh’s lead.
After taking the 34-33 lead, Cushing made its final stand on a fourth-and-goal play about five yards from its end zone. A Tecumseh touchdown would almost certainly spell defeat. Instead, Trevor Ailey somehow shed a block at the line of scrimmage and threw his body wildly at the ball carrier, Tecumseh’s Jaylen Walker, stopping him at the 3-yard line.
“You preach over and over and over that good things are gonna happen if you stay the course, we stayed the course,” Morgan said. “We know we could do things offensively, we knew we needed to come up with a couple stops... “Guys just stepped up and did it, got it done.”
Moyer was at his best, completing 20 of his 29 passing attempts for 259 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. His longest pass was the game-winning touchdown, a 49-yard connection with Keaton Crooks. That memorable, winning drive started at Cushing’s 38-yard line, with 5:53 left and a hopeful Homecoming crowd eagerly waiting. On the first play, a five-yard passing gain was taken back by penalty. Now, Tecumseh needed two, maybe three more stops to get the ball back and hold its lead. The hometown Tigers were on a short leash. Then Kimmel struck, again. He ran for 22 yards on the next play and set the Tigers up for the pass to Crooks on third-and-14.
Within Morgan’s system, the offensive line has developed to support a potent offense capable of scoring from the ground or through the air. Friday was Cushing’s most efficient passing performance, though the 476 yards thrown against Bristow may stand as the most in any game this season.
The defense held Tecumseh (2-3 overall, 0-2 district) to the second-lowest offensive production of the season, limiting the visitors to 86 yards passing and 277 rushing. Head Coach Ty Bullock commented on his return to O’Dell Field Friday night, on his Facebook page. ~ “I am so proud of our kids and how they left it all out there. It's a hard loss to swallow but I know our kids are resilient and will bounce back. I'm proud to be a Tecumseh Savage and wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Know one is jumping off this dang boat, we will pull through together. Thats what family does.”
Kenzi Carmen was selected as homecoming queen and Anthony Bloom was selected as homecoming king.
Chance Kindley was 4-for-4 on extra point attempts. The Tigers attempted a 2-point conversion after the go-ahead touchdown but did not complete the play in the end zone.
Tecumseh’s Branan Clark ran 25 times for 132 yards. Tecumseh did not have a receiver exceed 39 yards on the night. Cushing, however, had a big night from Crooks (11 catches, 178 yards). Receivers Harrison Wood (36 yards) and Ailey (32) also had productive nights.
The Tigers are 2-3 overall and undefeated in District 4A-2 with 16 district points, which puts them second only to Bethany (26). They will travel to McLoud on Friday, Oct. 5 for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
McLoud is 2-3 overall and 1-1 in district after losing 49-0 at Blanchard.
Elsewhere in the district, Bethany defeated Harrah 56-28. Tuttle and Madill were inactive.