Brian Johnson Special Correspondent
The Ada Cougars must have felt like they were trying to tackle petrified wood on Friday night.
Instead, it was a different kind of wood which made things difficult as McLoud’s 6-foot, 2-inch, 190-pound senior quarterback, Joseph Wood, ran by, through and over the Ada defense in stunning the fourth-ranked Cougars 33-20 Friday night in a District 4A-2 football clash.
Wood netted 139 yards on 45 rushing attempts and was 9-of-12 passing for 188 more yards as the Redskins, fighting for their playoff lives, improved to 5-4 on the season. The Redskins evened their district record at 3-3, heading into a critical home matchup with archrival Harrah next Friday night to close out the 2013 regular season.
Despite the loss, Ada can still play for a district title at home next week by facing third-ranked Oklahoma City Douglass at East Central University’s Norris Field. The Cougars, in suffering their first district loss to go to 5-1, fell to 7-2 overall. Douglass beat Harrah to remain unbeaten in the district Friday night.
“They won the game because they whipped us up front and in the trenches,” said Ada head coach Matt Weber about the Redskins. “Wood is a heck of a football player. They haven’t quite used him in the running game as much as they did tonight.”
Wood engineered three long scoring drives in the second half in breaking a 13-all halftime stalemate. Just as important, Ada was limited to just three second-half possessions.
“We had only three possessions in the second half, and they obviously played keep-away from us. The time of possession wasn’t even close,” Weber said. “They did a good job with their third-down conversions and burned nearly every second off the play clock. They had a good game plan and executed it.”
McLoud had possession almost 19 of the 24 second-half minutes with sustained drives and the continuous moving of the chains, led by Wood, who accounted for 427 of his team’s 468 yards. In the passing department, he connected with Bryson Garcia on TD passes of 7 and 5 yards and hooked up with Will Olds on a 69-yard scoring pass in completing 75 percent of his attempts on the night.
Meanwhile, Ada finished with 296 total yards, with 191 coming through the air. Quarterback Cory Kilby was 7-of-18 for 105 yards and one TD, a 75-yard TD hookup with Jeremiah Larry. However, Kilby was picked off three times, twice by Robert Hill and once by Wood.
Larry finished with two receptions for 96 yards, including the big 75-yarder for a score, and Micah Simmer had a pair of grabs for 52 yards, including a 38-yarder for the Cougars.
One of Ada’s few second-half possessions was a one-play series as Larry ripped off a 70-yard scoring run with 10:49 to go, pulling Ada within 27-20. However, that was the Cougars’ only second-half touchdown.
The Redskins responded with an 80-play, nearly eight-minute drive to put the game out of reach on Wood’s 11-yard scramble with 2:46 remaining for the final points of the contest.
“We knew we had to keep the ball away from them and try to control the game by running the ball,” said McLoud head coach Eric Cardin. “Our offensive line did a good job blocking up front. Our defense stepped up and gave us the ability to control game.”
The Redskins snatched an early 6-0 advantage with a six-play, 52-yard series, capped by Wood’s 7-yard scoring pass to Garcia with 8:56 to go in the opening quarter. The PAT failed.
Ada retaliated with a 63-yard, six-play series which resulted in a 3-yard TD run by Kilby with 6:11 left in the first quarter. The point-after kick was blocked as the score remained 6-6.
The Cougars then took a short-lived 13-6 lead when Kilby hit Larry on a short sideline pass, and Larry burst through in tightrope fashion 75 yards for a score with 1:41 to go in the first quarter. Todd Penick tacked on the extra point.
Ironically, McLoud answered the call with the same type of play, as Wood connected with Olds for a 69-yard score with 1:19 remaining in the opening quarter. Tanner Jordan’s kick tied it up at 13.
That 13-all score stood up until halftime.
The Redskins burned nearly seven minutes off the clock to open the second half with a 12-play, 65-yard drive which ended on Wood’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Garcia with 5:02 left in the third.
Hill’s second of two interceptions late in the third set the stage for a 10-play, 76-yard series in which Wood scored off a 5-yard keeper with 10:52 to play. That led to a 27-13 McLoud advantage.
Ada, which has made a habit of staging comeback victories this season, appeared to seize some momentum off Larry’s 70-yard run to pull the Cougars within 27-20, early in the fourth. But Wood made sure that didn’t happen by guiding the Redskins on the big clock-killing TD drive that sealed Ada’s fate.