LAWTON — Jeff Brickman really wanted to be Southmoore’s coach for nights like he had Friday when his ninth-ranked SaberCats traveled to Lawton to face the sixth-ranked Wolverines.
Even though LHS was undefeated and ranked as high as No. 1 in other state polls, Brickman knew the type of team he was taking with him. It was why he fought to get the head coaching job this year. His belief in the team paid off with a 20-17 victory at Cameron Stadium.
“It’s like I told these guys, I had some opportunities to do some other things when coach (Chris) Jensen left,” Brickman said. “I really wanted this job. I knew we were going to have a special team. I really wanted this job badly.”
The SaberCats led for much of the game before watching Lawton make a furious second-half comeback.
With just over seven minutes left in the contest, SMH got the ball on its own 5-yard line. It needed a long drive to salt the game away.
Brickman turned to his offensive line and asked them to clear the way for tailbacks Karltrell Henderson and Jaelon Walker. Southmoore took more than five minutes off the clock behind its power running game before it had to punt the ball.
Lawton took over with 1:59 left in the game, but were unable to get past midfield. The Cats watched the clock run down as they earned the biggest win of the season.
“We played a heck of a game,” quarterback Tre Edwards said. “I think this is the best game we’ve ever played.”
Henderson led the way for Southmoore with 108 rushing yards. Edwards threw for 177 yards on 10-of-15 passing.
Lawton’s Ivan Thomas racked up 138 yards on the ground in the defeat, but it wasn’t enough.
“We thought that Thomas would be a big threat, but we stopped him,” linebacker Keaton Bell said. “And we just had a great game. It makes me feel great. Awesome.”
Despite the Wolverines having the No. 1 defense in 6A, Southmoore made easy work of it on the first drive of the game. Edwards drove the team down field in under two minutes before Pierce Spead scored from nine yards out to put the Cats up 6-0.
Lawton took the field without its starting quarterback Dallas Sealey, who was injured last week against Choctaw. Jack Meservy went under center and was able to keep the offense moving.
However, Lawton’s first points of the game came on a safety when the ball flew over punter Tyler Painter’s head and he was tackled in the end zone.
The SaberCats led 6-2.
Even with a bevy of penalties, Southmoore went 80 yards for another touchdown in the second quarter. The drive ended with Edwards tossing a 22-yard pass to Nick Ward in the end zone that went over the outstretched arms of the defender.
In a game that featured several future college players, the best player on the field was Bell. After forcing a fumble in the first quarter, the sophomore came back in the second quarter and caused another one when he hit Meservy and Thomas in the backfield at the same time.
Southmoore recovered on their own 18 yard line. A 40 yard pass to Jackson Stallings and 37 yard pass to Jonathan Martin set up a Walker touchdown run to give the Cats a 20-2 half-time advantage.
Bell made his presence known again with an interception on the Cats’ 5-yard line for his third forced turnover of the game.
“He’s a sophomore and could end up being pretty special,” Brickman said. “He has the size around 6-0, 220. We think Bell could be really something. Now he’s starting to figure things out. He played really, really well for us.”
But Southmoore gave the ball back two plays later when Henderson fumbled.
Lawton then got a 11-yard TD run from the 265-pound Thomas. The next drive, Meservy hit Myykhail Shaw for another touchdown. Southmoore’s lead was trimmed to down to 20-17 going into the fourth quarter.
The Cats’ defense held strong and shut down Lawton the entire period.
“We just don’t give up,” Painter said. “They hit us and we hit them. We just didn’t give up at the end.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org