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Titans defend state title

Carl Albert’s football team celebrates after winning the 2023 state championship. Photo by J. Wiggins for the Midwest City Beacon

Carl Albert edges rival Del City in Class 5A state finals

By Michael Kinney 
Contributing Writer

EDMOND- When the 2023 season started, Carl Albert already knew the deal. As the defending 5A state champions, the Titans knew they would be a marked squad as every team they faced would be looking to knock their crown off.

But this is nothing new to coach Mike Dunn and the CA program. As winners of 17 overall championships heading into Saturday’s matchup, the standard had been set years ago on how to deal with such roadblocks.

The only thing that was different would be their opponent. In this case, it was fellow Mid-Del rival Del City, who was seeking their first football title since 1976. It was the third matchup in three years, with the teams splitting the previous two.

Despite the Eagles coming in with the belief they could be the ones to knock the Titans off their pedestal, it was Carl Albert who pulled away late for a 35-14 victory at Chad Richison Stadium.

“The key has been consistency,” Dunn said. “We know we’re going to get everybody’s best shot every week, and our guys, they just take it in stride. They don’t care. They know it. They keep working.”

The 2023 championship was the program’s seventh in the last eight years. But the added feature of going wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in 5A and not losing a game, makes this year stand out.

“I would say this year was well fought,” junior Trynae Washington said. “We came through last year, we had two losses and then we didn’t lose a game this year. We had some adversity against Guthrie. Slow starts, but we came through and played hard. I’m proud of my team. We grew no matter what without losing. We still grew. We kept getting better no matter who we were playing. I’m proud of my team.”

The Titans weren’t at their best early on against the Eagles. Despite Xavier Robinson putting the first points on the board with a 39-yard touchdown catch from Kevin Sperry, the game was tied at 7-7 going into the second quarter.

Carl Albert’s Brock Johnson forced a fumble at the start of the second quarter, which led to another Sperry touchdown pass to Marcus James. Sperry added a 7-yard TD run to give the Titans a 21-7 halftime advantage.

Del City closed the gap to 21-14 on a Braelon Adamah touchdown catch late in the third quarter. But Carl Albert turned to its run game in the fourth quarter as Robinson scored twice to put the contest away. That included an electrifying 65-yard run in which he bulldozed a couple of DC defenders before outrunning the rest of the unit to the endzone.

“We both talked about establishing the run game and I think that really helped us and it opened up some big shots,” Dunn said. “Making sure our kids were just physical and ready for a four-quarter game. That’s what it was in the fourth quarter. We went out and really played good in the fourth quarter.”

Robinson finished with 197 total yards and three touchdowns in his final game at Carl Albert before heading off to the University of Oklahoma.

Sperry completed 9 of 12 passes for 131 yards and ran for another 106 yards to go along with three total TDs as he won his first championship with Carl Albert.

“It’s amazing. We talked about it from the first week of summer when I got here,” Sperry said. “I knew how much it meant to the guys. It’s a tradition pretty much here. We had to get it done. We had the guys to do it… I’m just glad that we got it done this year and looking forward to get it done next year too.”

Marcus James celebrates with the state championship trophy. Photo by Jeff Harrison

Carl Albert’s Xavier Robinson (21) stiff arms Del City’s Jashawn McCalister (12) during a run in the Class 5A state championship at Chad Richison Stadium in Edmond on Saturday. Photo by J. Wiggins for the Midwest City Beacon

Braelon Adamah carries the ball for Del City. Photo by Bob Whitaker

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