The Ada High football team flat-out dominated No. 4 Tuttle over the final 18 minutes of Friday night’s District 4A-2 matchup at Norris Field.
But a furious Cougar comeback fell just short, as the high-powered Tigers turned back Ada 40-30.
Tuttle improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the district, while Ada slumped to 2-5 and 1-3.
The Tigers raced to leads of 20-0 and 34-10 before the Cougars came roaring back and outscored the visitors 20-6 to end the game.
The fabulous Ada finish had to have the Cougar camp thinking about a play or two that could have made a difference in the early going.
“I’m proud of the way we fought back. We made some mistakes early, and you’d like to have some of that stuff back,” said Ada head coach Wade Standley. “I thought our guys played extremely hard. They have no quit in them. They fought an undefeated team and had them on their heels at the end.”
Ada quarterback Jackson McFarlane and running back Adam Anderson both had nights to remember against a talented Tuttle defense.
McFarlane completed 28-of-37 yards for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He broke the single-game school record for pass completions and pass attempts. Brent Whitson finished 22-of-35 in 1979. He was knocking on the door of the record for most passing yards in the game. That mark was set last year by Gabriel Simons, who tossed for 403 yards in a 59-21 win over McLoud.
“Jackson McFarlane made some big-time plays. Our offensive line protected well in the second half,” Standley said.
Anderson likely set a receiving yards mark by a tailback. He finished with 14 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 88 yards and another score. The school record for receptions is held by Clay Deaton with 15 in 1979.
“Adam Anderson is going to be a heck of a football player,” Standley said. “I’m so proud of that young man. He has skill. He can catch the football. He did a great job tonight.”
It was a rough start for Ada. The offense had managed just 15 total yards by the time the Tigers forged a 20-0 lead at the 2:54 mark of the second period.
Tuttle scored on the opening drive of the game, going 65 yards in 13 plays. Running back Keith Traylor, a 6-0, 214-pound senior, was the workhorse with eight carries, including the 1-yard TD run. Damion Jackson blocked the PAT kick for Ada, leaving the score 6-0 at the 6:28 mark of the first quarter.
THS quarterback Rhett Boles bolted through the Ada defense for an 84-yard scoring jaunt — despite a low snap — on Tuttle’s next possession. Boles two-point pass was incomplete, and the visitors led 12-0 at the 3:41 mark of the opening frame. That big run helped Boles to a 176-yard rushing night on 13 carries. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 86 yards.
The Tigers drove deep into Ada territory early in the second period, but Jackson stopped that threat with an interception (he fumbled during the return but was able to recover it himself). Jackson’s big day also included nine tackles.
Tuttle took advantage of a short 24-yard Ada punt and scored when Boles hit Austin Garrett with a 12-yard TD toss. Traylor scored on a two-point run to boost the Tuttle advantage to 20-0.
The Cougars finally answered with a seven-play, 72-yard drive. Anderson’s big 37-yard catch-and-run was the big play on the drive that was capped when Jackson hit 6-7, 240-pound tight end Vaughn Appleman for a 5-yard touchdown pass. McFarlane’s kick made it 20-7 with just 38 seconds left in the first half.
However, Tuttle needed just 11 seconds to wipe out any momentum the Cougars were planning on taking to the locker room. Ethan Glass caught the ensuing kickoff in a dead sprint and raced through the Ada defense for a 62-yard touchdown return that made it 27-7 at halftime.
A 45-yard reception by Anderson and a 16-yard grab by Tanner Gilliam got Ada into the Tuttle red zone before the Cougars settled for a 32-yard McFarlane field goal that trimmed the Ada deficit to 27-10.
Another heavy dose of Traylor — who finished with 29 caries for 102 yards — led to a 7-yard touchdown keeper by Boles that put Tuttle on top 34-10.
The Cougars then shifted the offense into second gear, jump-started by a 73-yard touchdown run by Anderson, during which he burst through a wall of defenders and sped to the end zone. That made it 34-17 at the 5:27 mark of the third quarter.
Tuttle scored its final touchdown of the game on a 5-yard TD run by Traylor with just seconds left in the third period. And after another THS missed PAT kick, the visitors led 40-17.
McFarlane set up Ada’s next score after weaving his way through the Tuttle defense for a 30-yard scamper. A screen pass to Anderson turned into a 15-yard score that got Ada within 40-34 with 10:32 left in the game.
Ada’s next drive started on its own 13, but McFarlane connected with Colby Eaker on three passes for 48 yards and an 11-yard toss to Anderson to motor down the field. Lincoln Gibson caught a 19-yard TD pass at the goal line and held on despite taking a big hit. A two-point pass failed, leaving Ada with a 10-point deficit with 4:30 left.
The Cougars got the ball back with under two minutes to play and drove to the Tuttle 26 before the drive fizzled, thanks in part to a sack by Tuttle linebacker Dylan Coffman, who made a number of big defensive plays for his team throughout the contest.
After the dust settled, Ada actually outgained Tuttle 425-400.
Garrett Christian paced the Ada defense with 17 tackles, while Gilliam followed with 15. Sheldon Hysten added a dozen tackles for the hosts.
“We made some good plays defensively. We had some guys fighting their tails off in there,” Standley said.
The Cougars are now preparing for a Fall Break trip to Tulsa Central at 7 p.m. Thursday.