, Muskogee, OK

September 13, 2012

The Rock changes hands: Fort Gibson downs Hilldale to grab trophy for first time since 2006

— By Kenton Brooks

Times Sports Writer

In Fort Gibson football lingo, it’s known as 47 power pass.

For anyone else, it’s the play that pushed the Tigers to the 21-12 victory against the Hilldale Hornets Friday at Hornet Stadium and puts The Rock in Fort Gibson.

The play covered 56 yards with sophomore quarterback J.R. Singleton finding senior tight end Ned Adair wide open with 9:09 left in the game to snap the Tigers’ five-game losing streak in the series.

“We’ve been running 47 power and 46 power. I think we just caught them off guard with the 47 power pass,” Adair said. “When I caught it, I just thought I had to run as fast as I could. I just had to head for the end zone. I knew Miles (Jackson, Hilldale’s senior safety) would catch me because he’s really fast. This is incredible. It’s good to go out with a win against them because it’s my senior year.”

James Singleton, the Tigers’ second-year head coach, said his coaches in the pressbox told him to run the play.

“Hilldale was in a nine-man box, and their safeties were really cheating up,” he said. “The coaches saw the play was wide open. We dialed it up. J.R. threw a great pass and Ned made a phenomenal catch. No question it was the play of the game. We were kind of reeling, and Hilldale was getting momentum. We needed to dial up a home run. That was the difference in the game.”

Fort Gibson improved to 2-0 with the victory.

All of this excitement came after a 45-minute delay because of lightning. The game was stopped with 2:37 left in the first half after Fort Gibson had taken a 14-12.

When play resumed, the first half was completed. After a 10-minute halftime, the second half was played. In 2004, the game was delayed because of lightning for more than an hour. Hilldale won that game 14-13.

Hilldale coach Chad Kirkhart was visibly disappointed after the loss as his team dropped to 1-1 for the season.

“One play doesn’t define a game, but that was obviously a big play,” he said. “It was a good play call. We got caught up in the play action and (Adair) got behind us. I told our team it hurts because you want to win every game, but this doesn’t make or break us. It’ll motivate to come ready to work on Monday. We’ve got a lot of games left to play.”

The Tigers took a 14-12 lead in the first half when Singleton scored from three yards out. Singleton had 25 yards rushing on 10 carries. Jake Gandara led Fort Gibson with 98 yards rushing on 28 carries and scored his team’s first touchdown on a five-yard run with 3:42 left in the first period.

Hilldale got a 60-yard kickoff return by Miles Jackson with 3:29 left in the first period. The Hornets took a 12-7 lead when Jamaul Cullom returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown with 10:01 left in the first half.

Both teams are in action next Friday as Hilldale plays at home against Beggs and Fort Gibson travels to Catoosa.