Ada’s Class 5A playoffs trip started off on an ominous note Friday. Set for a 3:15 p.m. departure, the driver of the Red Carpet charter bus called ahead from the Pickett Center area. She had just witnessed a horrific automobile accident. She saw more than she wanted hurtling at her through the big picture windshield. She was shaken and would not be able to continue the trip, but came on it to the Craig McBroom Football Complex.
Things went south after that for the Ada Cougars.
The AHS starters and specialists arrived at Cameron Stadium in Lawton with plenty of time on commandeered Yellow Dawg school buses, but the game itself turned into another wreck, a 35-0 Lawton MacArthur victory.
Weber lamented not placing higher in the district race.
“Looking back on the season, as coaches we play back situations and outcomes to see if our kids could have done anythig differently. A few bounces here and there and we might have placed higher in the district. When you place fourth like we have for the last three years, you are always going to play a No. 1 when you cross with another district.”
Weber noted that the other three 5A-1 playoff teams remained in the hunt. District champ Guthrie handled Durant, 35-6; runner-up and defending state champ Midwest City Carl Albert slipped past Duncan in overtime, 30-27; and third placle Deer Creek upset Ardmore and former Ada head coach Larry McBroom, 19-12.
Alive and kicking in the quarterfinals are: Coweta (9-2) at Guthrie (10-1); Deer Creek (8-3) at Tulsa Washington (10-1); McAlester (10-1) at Lawton Mac (9-2); and Carl Albert (9-2) at Tulsa East Central (10-1).
Other first-round scores were Coweta 13, Tulsa Kelley 7, Tulsa Washington 43, Claremore 0., McAlester 39, Grove 20 and Tulsa East Central 30, Skiatook 8.
In his three seasons as head coach his teams were 5-6 in 2008 and lost to eventual state champ Tulsa Washington in the first round, 7-4 in 2009 and lost to No. 1-ranked Tulsa Kelley in the first round. The final count for this year is 5-6 after the loss to No. 5 Lawton MacArthur.
Mac held a 25-13 edge in first downs. More importantly, Ada’s only first down in the first quarter came on a penalty.
Penalties were the Highlanders only bane, 11-113, but the setbacks were overcome on most ocassions.
A bright spot was backup receiver Austin Peteet’s five receptions for 31 yards. The junior, 6-2 x 194 pounder’s catches were all in the second half.
The Highlanders outgained the Cougars in total yardage. Mac had 456. The Ada offense that had so evenly split big yardage among several players much of the season came up with only 163 to divy up.
Neither side gained much traction in the first quarter until senior QB Dylan Warner went to work. On the night he hit 14-of-22 passes for 219 yards, and the 12-play, 82-yard drive in the first quarter. He found WR Rashaud Foreman with a 13-yard touchdown pass with 3:04 remaining the quarter. Daniel Schwartz’s first of five PATs on the night made it 7-0 and the Highlanders never looked back,
The big back on the night, soph 205-pounder Darius Graham, rushed for 90 yards, including a 12-yarder for score No. 2 just into the second period. The score came with 11:48 left in the half at the end of a nine-play, 65-yard drive.
Before that 11:48 expired Lawton Mac had a 21-0 lead on Graham’s second TD of the night. From the two he bashed in with 49 ticks remaining before halftime.
Ada had tried to rally in the second quarter, but two Wyatt Robson passes were picked by Chris Scott and Morris Dale.
Robson was under extremely heavy rushes all night and had only 50 yards on eight completions in 17 throws.
Weber said he felt especially bad for the seniors, his first class he has seen all the way through Ada High.
“They have done everything we have asked them to do. But they are kids and do not realize that sometimes no matter how hard you play, how hard you try, things may not turn out the way you want. That’s the way it is in life,” Weber said.
The seniors and other starters did ride home in the style they had earned in their three years. The charter was turned back over to them, for the long, silent ride home.
The reserves, who had unexpectedly had ridden in luxury for the first time, went back to the Dawgs.
The reserves had made the trip on the charter when another Red Carpet driver arrived at 4:15 p.m. They, too, made it to Lawton in plenty of time at 6:30 p.m.
As all Ada coaches before them have done, Weber’s staff will take a break, take a deep breath and go back to work.
This time it will be a bit different as Ada High prepares for its 100th season of football in 2011.
“We’ll take a week off or so, then go to work on how to get over that playoff hump, get a top spot,” Weber said.
That included a day off, the first really in 14 intense weeks.