It’s Mannford, man. No, not the Sixties rock group (Do Wah Diddy, Diddy; I’ve Got My Mojo Workin’) Manfred Mann, but the Pirates of Mannford, Okla., as Class 4A-2 district play begins Friday night at Norris Field.
The late-blooming series the Ada Cougars vs. the Mannford Pirates has not been kind to the Keystone Lake community, 7-0 in fact, including a 56-7 pounding a year ago.
Mannford and Ada were first hooked up in Class 4A play in 1992 and 1993.
Most of the seven meetings took place in this century. Four straight came in district play, 2002-05. None were even close, 139-44 totals, an average of 35-11. The closest came in 2003, 28-12, the least points tallied by Ada in the series.
A year ago, Mannford was still reeling from recent fires that took the homes of some 400 families.
The Cougars were on fire, too, having torched three non-district opponents. To underscore those victories, Ada scored at Mannford on the first play from scrimmage, a 40-yard hookup record-setting QB Robson to Dakota Blackwell.
Actually, the record-setting was still to come. Though Ada fans had hoped to see Robson break the career passing record at home on Norris Field, they settled for 3,499, topping Larry McBroom’s 3,320 set in 1970.
It came on a first-quarter TD hookup with stellar receiver Easton Pingleton, a 69-yarder that Ada fans had quickly become accustomed to.
The play of QB Luke May was the lone highlight for Mannford.
A May TD-pass narrowed it to 21-7 with around four minutes before the half. Two quick Cougar TDs before the break silenced that comeback attempt, however.
For the night, May connected on 14 of 25 for 135 yards, but the Cougars picked off three passes.
An even brighter sport for the Pirates is that May returns as QB Friday night.
Back in 1993 Mannford was welcomed to a snow-covered Norris Field for the first time Oct. 29.
Retired long-time line coach Don Byrd remembered the game, sort of. It was just another brick in the wall, so to speak, and the Cougars were rolling steadily toward state championship No. 16, Sweet Sixteen.
“Gosh, there were so many games like that, one-sided, but I do remember the snow. I think that was the game where they got out the Bearcats with the bucket on the front to clear the snow off the yard lines,” Byrd said.
Ada O-line coach Nathan Elliott has witnessed all seven wins. He played in winning efforts under head coach Larry McBroom in 1992, 35-6 and during the 1993 state championship season in Class 4A, 35-7.
After college he coached at Newcastle and Ada Junior High before joining the AHS staff just in time for another win over Mannford in 2002.
As far as head coaches, all three are all-victorious, of course.
Current Cougar head man Matt Weber is 1-0. During the four-year stand in 4A, 2002-05, saw McBroom return to the helm for wins in 2002, 35-6, and 2003, 28-12. Steve Dean’s four-year stand as head coach included wins over Mannford, 34-12, in 2004, and 42-14 in 2005.
The opening of District 4A-2 finds six of the eight teams with 2-1 records through the three non-district games.
Only Harrah and Oklahoma City Santa Fe South have just a single win.