Titans overcome double-digit deficit for 24-21 win
By Jacob Sturm
Midwest City Beacon
GUTHRIE – Late drama, and an added sense of tension, filled Jelsma Stadium on Thursday evening when two unbeaten teams battled for Class 5A supremacy.
In Carl Albert’s narrow 24-21 victory against Guthrie, the challenge was as advertised.
Guthrie (7-1 overall, 3-1 in 5A district 2) formed the greatest resistance the loaded Carl Albert Titan offense had faced this season, and showed it early. The Bluejays’ came into the contest with zero conceded touchdowns, and seemed to find their groove from the opening kickoff. Only in the final minute of the first half did the Titans make their move and narrow a 14-0 deficit to 14-7 off a Marcus James 45-yard reception from Kevin Sperry Jr with 47 seconds left in the first half.
The challenges also flummoxed Carl Albert (9-0, 5-0) throughout the opening 24 minutes, notably with a blocked punt giving life to an already raucous Guthrie crowd. That led to the first score of the night, and put the pressure on the
Titans’ stars to deliver.
“We went and got punched in the face in the first half, and those guys throw a big punch,” Carl Albert coach Mike Dunn said. “… It was big of us scoring right there at the very end and going in down one score, and then coming out and the way we rolled in the second half was much better. (We) had a much better second half, but they made us earn everything that we got.”
Pressure can form greatness, and the second half battle proved to make that a true statement.
The Titans marched down the field out of halftime and put a field goal on the board to cut into the deficit, then got back into scoring position before a rare missed field goal ended a promising drive. A blocked punt from Caden Davis put Carl Albert in prime position, and Xavier Robinson did the rest with a 20-yard touchdown run with 8:43 to go.
“It’s just a big momentum play,” Dunn said. “Caden Davis has been doing that for us since he was a freshman… It doesn’t surprise us because we see him do it all the time. We know how hard he studies film. We know what kind of ball player he is, and so when that happened it was a big-time play, but all of us were like ‘he’s going to get one’. We knew he was going to get one at some point. We felt like that and he did it. And then that big-time run by Xavier right there to go cap that off. Big-time stuff.”
Guthrie would retake the lead off a long touchdown drive, but left enough clock for Carl Albert to get the final shot.
That resulted in a fourth and goal with the game on the line, where Dunn said the call had been in the works for eight weeks, yet had not been used all year.
Sperry took the snap and dropped back to pass before lofting the ball to Marcus James, who had managed to find enough space running across the end zone to make a catch to stun the large Guthrie crowd.
“As soon as we called that timeout… I knew we was running that play before we even went out there because when I get in the tight end (position) they weren’t looking at me,” James said. “So, I had to clear my mind because when you’re a kid, you dream for moments like this. You just have to go out there and make this play. And players made plays, like I said.”
Carl Albert is off this week and will next face Piedmont on Nov. 3.