Special to The Sun
Clinging to a 5-point lead in the fourth quarter of its Class 2A state quarterfinal match, Oklahoma Christian School needed its leading rusher.
Problem was, Luke Frankfurt was on the sidelines, nursing sore ribs, and was in no condition to take a big hit.
Frankfurt, though, had a solution — run so fast that no one on the defense could touch him. He did just that, and his 57-yard touchdown romp in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference in a 22-16 win against Stroud.
“I just had to tough it out,” Frankfurt said. “I didn’t want to miss the game and lose it for our seniors. I was just trying to think about the seniors.”
Frankfurt took a tough shot to the ribs on a pass reception in the flat with 9:50 left, and took several minutes to get off the field. With his team up 15-3, it didn’t seem to matter much at the time. However, Stroud went 80 yards on the next possession and scored its first touchdown of the night to make it 15-10 with 5:09 left.
The Saints ran four plays without their star running back, but on a second-down play they called on him, and he went 57 yards up the middle of the field to expand the lead back to two scores.
Stroud countered with another touchdown to get within 22-16 with 1:02 left, but failed to recover an onside kick.
OCS dominated much of the stat categories, outgaining the Tigers, 347-257. The game was anything but normal, though, as it featured 190 yards in penalties and three first-half Saints turnovers.
“We had some mistakes, but our kids have experience and they stayed calm,” OCS head coach Derek Turner said. “Our game is tempo. We really work on being up-tempo, and when there are that many penalties, it kind of slows everything down.”
Saints quarterback Austin Brooks was 19-of-29 passing for 167 yards, as Blake Barnes hauled in 10 catches for 85 yards and Will McKinnis had eight for 71. Frankfurt’s late run helped him go for 112 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Stroud struggled to get much going until late. The Tigers picked up 148 of their 257 total yards on their final two possessions.
Stroud led, 3-0, early in the second period when the Saints went 73 yards on 15 plays to take the lead. The score was an 18-yard touchdown pass from Brooks to McKinnis and McKinnis then threw a 2-point conversion pass to make it 8-3, which is where it stood at the break.
A reverse on a punt return, combined with a Stroud personal foul penalty, set up the Saints at the Tigers’ 17 on their second drive of the second half. Brooks hit Barnes on an 11-yard out route three plays later and it was 15-3.
Stroud’s first touchdown drive of the night was aided by a fake punt that went for 22 yards and its final score was set up by a 32-yard screen pass to the halfback.
The Saints, now 12-1 overall, move onto the Class 2A state semifinals, where they’re scheduled to meet Frederick at a time and site to be determined.
“To be this far, these kids have done a great job,” Turner said. “They’ve been planning for this. They’ve been working toward this for a long, long time.”