Special to The Sun
MIDWEST CITY —
The Deer Creek Antlers simply had no answer for Carl Albert quarterback Stevie Thompson Friday as the Antlers lost their district opener, 42-24, at Jim Harris Stadium.
While Deer Creek’s Caden Sander was giving the much larger Titans fits with his deft throwing arm coupled with elusive running out of the pocket, Thompson was shredding the Antlers’ defense for 340 yards and six touchdowns on 38 carries, the killer coming with just a minute left in the game when he wandered off tackle behind 310-pound Anthony Woods and 280-pound Robert Lolofie, found a gap in the Antler secondary and sped 44 yards for the backbreaking tally.
Sander finished with 22-of-33 passing for 275 yards and a touchdown and added another 82 yards scrambling out of the pocket.
“I think they are already better than last year when they won state,” said Deer Creek coach Grant Gower. “They are so big and mobile up front that it’s hard to match up with them. We just couldn’t get in front of Thompson. He has improved also.”
The Antlers, now 2-2 after losing back-to-back games to Edmond Memorial and the Titans, face a short breather in their schedule, facing second division district teams El Reno, Guymon and Western Heights on consecutive weeks.
The Antlers were forced to punt on their first possession and the Titans launched a 57-yard drive in 11 plays capped by Thompson’s first of six touchdowns, this one from the four. Blake Walker’s kick made it 7-0.
But the gritty Antlers answered with an impressive drive of their own, going 75 yards in just eight plays to beat the first-quarter buzzer. Marcus Coleman got the touchdown, going in from the one and Dillon Noble kicked the PAT to knot it at 7-all.
Sander connected on three big plays to spark the drive, hitting Cole Verble for 12 yards, Noah McGraw for 11 and Coleman for 20 to reach the eight. A half-the-distance penalty advanced it to the four and Coleman was into the end zone two plays later.
The Titans added two more touchdowns in the second period before the Antlers struck back.
Following Thompson’s third TD run, Deer Creek’s Jackson Smith returned the kickoff to the 31 with 5:13 remaining before halftime. Again, Sander limbered up his passing arm, connecting with Coleman for 13 yards to the 44 and later a 28-yard beauty to Verble that gave the Antlers first-and-goal with less than a minute to play.
The Titans crowded the line of scrimmage in an attempt to thwart Sander's passing, but the elusive DC QB faked a pass into the end zone and flipped to Coleman who covered the final 10 yards for the TD. Noble made it 21-14 at halftime.
Carl Albert took the second-half kickoff and marched 69 yards — 50 of them by Thompson — including the final five for the TD to make it 28-14, but the Antlers were not through.
Smith again was spectacular on the kickoff return, gaining 39 yards to give the Antlers the ball on the Titan 45. Sander got 39 on one play to the seven, but three straight passes fell incomplete and Noble came on to connect on a field goal to make it 28-17.
Deer Creek got new life when the other Sander, Kyle, intercepted a deflected pass to give the Antlers possession near midfield. Noble’s attempt on a 46-yard field goal was barely wide right.
The Titans took advantage as Thompson went 18 yards off tackle to the 42 and then broke through the secondary for a 42-yard TD to make it 35-17.
The Antlers got back on the scoreboard quickly following the kickoff when Sander rolled left on the first play and found Brock Rumier in the flat and the speedy Deer Creek sophomore outran the Titans to the end zone. Noble made it 35-25 before Thompson broke the hearts of the Antlers faithful with his game-ending scoring blitz.