Special to The Sun
With Deer Creek’s potent offensive attack, turnovers are a no-no for any team coming in for a chance to win.
Friday night at Deer Creek High School in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs, the Ardmore Tigers surrendered a pair of defensive scores to the Antlers, leaving the Tigers with no chance as powerful Deer Creek rode the southerly wind to an easy 52-14 triumph. The Antlers, now 10-1, will host McAlester in round two next week. The Buffaloes trailed 9-nothing to Collinsville, but rallied back for a convincing 29-9 victory Friday on the eastern side of the bracket.
Not only did the Deer Creek offense and defense ride the brisk wind out of the south, Antler kicker Dillon Noble — who again went perfect on extra points — laid into a hard line-drive kick to convert a 58-yard field goal which traveled through the northwest goalposts.
The Antlers wound up their offense on the opening drive of the contest, using a hurry-up offense, moving 80 yards on 10 plays for a 7-0 advantage. It wasn’t easy, though, as Deer Creek quarterback Joel Blumenthal — who tossed five touchdowns on 9-of-15 passing without a pick and 213 yards — had to convert a fourth-and-7 pass at the Ardmore 25-yard line. Blumenthal backed up and lofted a pinpoint delivery to Kale Jackson up the left sideline. Jackson timed his jump perfectly, rising high above the defender while hauling in the scoring pass.
Blumenthal’s other TD passes went to Jared Rayburn for 37 yards, Brennan Miyake (8 and 41 yards along with a 42-yarder called back due to an illegal block in the back) and Alec James (28 yards). James finished with 58 yards on three catches and a TD followed by Miyake (2-49, 2 TDs), Rayburn (2-42, TD), Jackson (1-25, TD) and Marcus Coleman (1-39), who set up Miyake’s 8-yard reception to paydirt with a dazzling catch-and-run to the Tiger 10.
Deer Creek pulled away early thanks to the defensive scores in the first on a James 26-yard interception return and Miyake’s 83-yard fumble return to blast out to a 21-0 lead. James recovered a fumble as well later in the game.
Also defensively, Antler senior linebacker Chad Draper recovered a pair of fumbles and pulled down an Ardmore ball carrier for a loss of a yard, Brady Labue recorded a tackle for minus-3 yards on a pitch left and Miyake closed out the first half with a sack running in off the left edge.
Ardmore, a staple in Oklahoma postseason football, ended its season at 5-6. Ardmore owns five state titles with its last coming in 1992.