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September 30, 2013

Ada Cougars score 42 unanswered points, pull away from Mannford Pirates

Ada —      The Ada offense was going nowhere fast in the first half of a District 4A-2 home game with Mannford Friday night at Norris Field.

     The Cougars punted on four of five first-half possessions and lost a fumble on a fourth-down run that wouldn’t have made it to the first-down marker anyway. Ada had only 55 total yards through two quarters and after Mannford quarterback Luke May connected with receiver John Hoggatt for a 20-yard touchdown pass with just four seconds left before halftime, the upset-minded Pirates carried a 13-0 lead into the locker room.

     However, the Cougars — after rushing for more than 300 yards in a come-from-behind victory over Durant in Week 3 — turned to the air to turn things around against Mannford. Ada record four touchdown passes in the second half, and another score was set up by a long reception as the Cougars scored six unanswered touchdowns and rallied for a 42-13 victory.

     No. 6 Ada improved to 3-1 on the year and starts district play with a 1-0 mark, while shell-shocked Mannford left down at 2-2 and 0-1.

     “It was a big win. Our kids stayed together,” said Ada head coach Matt Weber. “We were a little bit flat in the first half. I don’t know if it was being out of routine with us not having school (Friday) or what. But the kids came out in the second half and played great.”

     The news wasn’t all good for Ada. Junior quarterback Tryce Prince landed hard on his shoulder out of bounds after scoring on a 4-yard touchdown keeper at the 5:09 mark of the third period. The touchdown tied the game, and Todd Penick’s PAT kick gave the Cougars the lead for good at 14-13. Prince suffered what was later determined to be a broken collarbone on the play. Early indications are that he will miss at least a month of action.

     “I know he’ll hurry and get back as quick as he can,” Weber said.

     Weber handed the offensive reins to backup quarterback Cory Kilby, and the Cougar offense didn’t miss a beat.

     Kilby’s first pass was a perfect 45-yard TD strike to tight end Micah Simmer that helped boost the Ada lead to 21-13 at the 3:03 mark of the third quarter.

     After defensive lineman Jacob Reed recovered a Mannford fumble early in the fourth quarter, Kilby guided the offense 50 yards in six plays for another score. His 20-yard keeper set up a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Gabriel Simmons with 8:28 left in the game that gave Ada a 28-13 advantage.

     During the ensuing kickoff, Jeremiah Larry delivered a big hit to the Mannford return man, forcing a fumble that was batted and kicked around until Tyler Degraw finally recovered it at the 1. Kilby sneaked over the goal line on the next play and all of the sudden, Ada led 35-13 with 8:10 left.

     Ada had one final drive that started with 6:08 left and, after seven rushes by tailback Shiloh Windsor, got the Cougars from their own 23 down to the Mannford 9.  Kilby would deliver one more TD toss — this time to Garrett Beam — to wrap up the scoring with 1:58 left. After eating up a chunk of yardage on that drive, Windsor would finish with 100 yards on 15 totes.

     Kilby would finish a perfect 5-for-5 for 89 yards and three touchdowns after taking over at quarterback. He also had six rushes for 44 more yards. While at receiver, he hauled in three long passes for 121 yards and scored the first Ada touchdown of the night on a 58-yard catch after his defender fell down. Prince connected with Kilby for 54 yards on Ada’s next drive — Mannford’s Hunter Hewitt saved a touchdown on that play with a diving tackle — that set up Prince’s ill-fated touchdown run.

     “It was a crazy thing to happen. Tryce goes down and I had to come in,” Kilby said following the game. “I practice with the quarterbacks every day, so I just had to come in and do what I know to do. I just want to thank God, because I couldn’t do anything without him. I just got the opportunity and tried to make the best of it.”

     Weber was thankful to have such a good backup waiting in the wings.

     “He’s such a calm character and so smart. You tell him to do something one time and he’s the type of guy that will do it the first time. We’re so glad he’s out — not just for this situation, but he’s just good for our football team. He did an outstanding job,” he said.

     Ada finished with over 200 yards passing and receiving, but Weber said Mannford’s decision to crowd the line of scrimmage forced the Cougars to air the ball out.

     “They were telling me that (Mannford) was daring us to throw it. I was watching more of the interior and not the back end,” Weber explained. “We came out in the second half and said, 'If they’re going to get up in our face like that, we’re going to take a chance over the top with No. 3,' and you see what happened. It was dumb on my part not doing it earlier. I should have tried to loosen them up a little more in the first half because Tryce was throwing the ball good.”

     Prince had passed for 124 yards and the long touchdown and rushed for 39 more before leaving with the injury.

     After the rough start, Ada piled up 419 yards of total offense.

     Running back Tyler Gibson led the Mannford offense, rushing for 132 yards, including an 11-yard TD run midway through the first quarter that gave the Pirates an early 7-0 lead.

     Ada travels to Tecumseh this week. The Savages (1-3) were pummeled by No. 5 Douglass 54-0 in Week 4.

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