The Oklahoma Christian Academy Eagles overcame a few unlucky first-half bounces Friday night to beat the Crooked Oak Ruf-Nex 42-24.
Playing at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Wantland Stadium, the Eagles rambled off 36 unanswered points to start the second half. Academy’s linebacker Lamar Crawford started them off.
Robbing Crooked Oak with a middle-of-the-field interception to stall out the Ruf-Nex’s half-opening drive, Crawford gave the ready-to-run Academy offense the ball on their own 48. Then, a single snap later, quarterback S’Mauri Abram found receiver Noah Bosley behind the defensive backs for a 52-yard touchdown reception.
The pair had just barely missed on the same spot, same play as the first half was closing Friday. But, given the second chance, Bosley and Abram cemented Academy’s plans just one offensive play into third quarter.
That started the trend. The Eagle defense locked the doors down, holding Crooked Oak to only one first down in the quarter — none came after the interception — and Abram would get a rushing touchdown leaping into the left side of Wantland’s northernmost end zone.
Abram set up that touchdown with his legs, too, opening the drive with back-to-back first-down rushes tallying 29 and 15 yards, placing the ball in the Crooked Oak red zone.
Academy outscored the Ruf-Nex 14-0 in the frame, and they’d quickly take their first lead of the night minutes into the fourth quarter.
Calvin Brantley spun through the defense on a 22-yard reception before Abram picked up his second rushing touchdown of the night with 10:45 left in the game. After the unsuccessful two-point try, the Eagles stood at a 26-24 advantage.
Academy then recovered an onside-kick try, setting up another, eventual Abram rushing touchdown before Abram found Brantley for another six points on a bootlegged touchdown pass that iced Friday’s comeback late in the fourth quarter.
The onside recovery was blissful. Earlier in the game, Noah Bosley recovered an onside kick 11-yards down the field on the Crooked Oak 49. Referees ruled that Bosley touched early, though, and Crooked Oak would earn a free possession.
It was the second time in two weeks that Academy had a successful onside-kick recovery waved off.
That wasn’t the only unlucky occurrence for the Eagles Friday night. Most came in the first half, too. Brantley, playing safety, jumped a deep route for a hopeful interception before the ball deflected up, over and into the waiting arms of Crooked Oak’s Dontre Daniels. It resulted in a touchdown.
Just after, another lucky bounce would go the way of the Ruf-Nex. Abram, cruising through traffic, was stripped from behind. The ball flatly hit the turf, bouncing right into the arms of another Ruf-Nex defender. At the time, the defender was looking for the tackle — and he’d even miss the falling Abram — but the ball ended up perfectly in his arms, with his momentum already carrying him away from the pile and into Wantland’s end zone.
The bounces and calls, mixed with a few drops from Academy receivers and a wild, fourth-and-35 try after three consecutive penalties derailed the Eagles’ first offensive possession had the halftime line at 18 points in Crooked Oaks’ favor before Academy’s strong second half led them to their first win of the year.