By Michael Kinney
The Norman Transcript
Before the season began, coach Jeff Brickman promised his team would play a more physical brand of football this year. Southmoore made their coach a man of his word in the season opener Thursday.
Facing 5A defending champion Carl Albert, the SaberCats ran for 289 yards as they rolled to a 37-14 victory at Moore Stadium. Southmoore had two runners rush for more than a 100 yards as they manhandled the Titans’ defensive front.
“The offensive line did a great job tonight,” senior Pierce Spead said. “I think we only had three negative plays. They opened a lot of holes for us.”
The fireworks started early for the SaberCats. On the first play from scrimmage, Spead busted through the Titans’ defensive front for a 65-yard touchdown.
“That first play was amazing,” Spead said. “I love that. The hole was wide open. (John) Ashcraft, he opened it up for me.”
On the very next drive, Dakota Troglin snatched a 23-yard touchdown pass out of the air on 4th down from freshman Conner Uselton. It gave the SaberCats a 14-7 advantage.
Southmoore’s defense did a good job of shutting down the Titans’ run game for most of the first half. They turned Carl Albert into a primarily passing team, which is not its strength. This allowed the SaberCats’ defensive line to pin their ears back and attack Titans’ quarterback Steve Thompson.
Late in the second quarter, Dunya Rice set up the ’Cats offense with a 48-yard punt return down to the Titans’ 17-yard line with 1:30 left. This led to a 16-yard Chris Nemecek field goal to give Southmoore a 17-7 halftime advantage.
Southmoore came out in the third quarter looking to impose its will upon Carl Albert. They fed running back Jaelon Walker the ball and let him carry the offense down the field on a time-consuming drive.
But it was Spead who crossed the goal line on a six-yard touchdown run to give the ’Cats a 23-7 lead late in the third quarter.
On Southmoore’s next possession, Walker made four defenders miss in mid-air before scampering for a 14-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter. But the Titans responded when Dillon Lohr returned the ensuing kick-off 90 yards for a touchdown.
Southmoore led 30-14.
Carl Albert attempted an onside kick, but Tyler Rinaldi plucked it out of the air and returned it for a 50-yard touchdown that put the contest away for the ’Cats.
Spead led all rushers with 131 yards. Walker added 114.
Uselton completed only a few passes in his first start. But he did enough to keep the Titans’ defense from stacking the line of scrimmage to gang up on the run.
“We are very, very tough to beat,” Spead said. “If anybody can stop that run, then we are going to dump it over with the pass. So it’s impossible.”