By Jacob Sturm
Midwest City Beacon
Moments after the opening whistle, Carl Albert snatched the momentum and never let go.
In its 45-2 victory against Elk City, Carl Albert took its opportunities well. That started with the Titans (2-2) receiving the opening kickoff and letting Tashawn James work some magic for a 95-yard sprint to the end zone.
James, who played in all three phases of the game (offense, defense and special teams), said he knew the team could make a return happen.
“It was just something we had talked about,” James said. “We knew we could do it if we just did our assignments and I hit the holes.”
Xavier Robinson, who had more looks in the Wildcat formation than in the Midwest City matchup a few weeks ago, found the end zone on a regular basis to make matters more challenging for Elk City (3-1) to overcome.
On the night, Robinson rushed 26 times for 188 yards and five touchdowns despite the congested line the Elks concocted. Titans quarterback Kash Ferris also controlled the game and made plays when required, adding another element for the Elks to defend.
Even with the solid rushing performance from Robinson, and good decision making from Ferris, the Titans offense could only be found watching from the sidelines when the crushing blow came.
Elk City had converted on fourth down multiple times in a late first half drive through passing plays out of the triple option formation. The Elks got on the doorstep with a third down and goal from inside the Titans 1-yard line before fumbling. Carl Albert’s defense pounced, and the drive ended without points.
That proved to be the best chance for Elk City’s offense.
Mike Dunn, Carl Albert’s coach, talked about the strategy to stop the triple option offense Elk City deployed and credited his defense for the results.
“Really, there is no secret against that kind of offense,” Dunn said. “You have to be more physical. That’s what they plan on is that you’re going to get tired of the physical part of a football game and they’re going to wear you down. They’re going to be happy with 3 yards a carry.”
“And so, when that’s your philosophy, that you’re good with 3 or 4 yards a carry, they want to keep the ball away,” Dunn said. “So, I think we had five three-and-outs. Our kids played their option responsibilities beautifully. Lots of discipline. It was pretty remarkable. Great effort by our defense.”
James had a similar opinion to the defensive effort.
“That’s a big thing,” James said. “Good defenses can stop a triple option, and we got a (defensive) shutout today. That’s a big deal. Everybody doing their jobs, flying around making tackles. We stopped the dive and we had a few three-and-outs. That’s the goal and I’m proud of our team.”
Carl Albert ran the ball and drained clock for much of the second half, making the defense shine even more with multiple stops down the stretch. Dunn said the team’s physicality had been one area he felt Carl Albert lacked at times in the past. Performances like the one against Elk City show the progress of the team’s efforts.
“Our kids, they’ve put the work in,” Dunn said. “They’ve done everything to get to the point where we were tonight.”
With the physicality on display in all phases, that point of emphasis came through clearly Friday.
The Titans open District 5A-2 play Thursday night at Lawton Eisenhower. The Eagles (1-3) are coming off a 30-16 loss to rival Lawton. Their lone win this season came against Altus, 36-21.
Teams in the district had to play an extra non-district game this year after Guymon opted not to compete in OSSAA this season.