By Ben Johnson
CNHI News Service
TAHLEQUAH — Fort Gibson quarterback J.R. Singleton ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as FGHS picked up a 42-33 victory against Tahlequah at Doc Wadley Stadium on Friday night.
Fort Gibson scored on its very first play from scrimmage on offense, when Singleton found Michael Richey for a 26-yard strike.
Fort Gibson (1-0) rattled off 21 straight points to begin the game and eventually led 35-14 at halftime.
Tahlequah, though, responded in the second half and got within nine points with a little less than five minutes left. But for the second straight season, Fort Gibson claimed bragging rights in the Highway 62 matchup.
“We escaped,” Fort Gibson coach James Singleton said. “We felt pretty comfortable at one time when we were up 35-7. We scored 14 points like gang-busters to open the game, and the defense was swarming. We were also moving up and down the field and feeling pretty good.
“But then the second quarter, it got a little rough. From there, it got choppy on both sides.”
J.R. Singleton ran for 82 yards and passed for 177 more for Fort Gibson.
Singleton’s 49-yard scoring pass to Will Rumbley midway through the fourth quarter put Fort Gibson up 42-21, but Tahlequah responded with two touchdowns to trim the deficit to nine.
Fort Gibson ran for 199 yards on 44 carries.
Tahlequah’s main source of offense was the pass-and-catch combination of quarterback David Dick and receiver Kourt McMillan. Dick was 13 of 25 for 276 yards and three touchdowns — all of which went to McMillan, who had seven grabs for 235 yards.
Two of McMillan’s three touchdowns were on 80 yards strikes.
Tahlequah drops to 0-1 and will host Rogers (Ark.) on Friday night. Fort Gibson returns home to host Hilldale.
Fort Gibson 42, Tahlequah 33
FGHS 21 14 0 7–42
THS 7 7 7 12–33
FGHS — Michael Richey 26-yard pass from J.R. Singleton (Daniel Mielnick kick), 10:01.
FGHS — Tristan Johnson 19-yard interception return (Mielnick kick), 8:17.
FGHS — Singleton 2-yard run (Mielnick kick), 1:20.
THS — Kourtland McMillan 80-yard pass from David Dick (Bryce Patrick kick), 1:07.
FGHS — Richey 2-yard run (Mielnick kick), 9:52.
FGHS — Singleton 1-yard run (Mielnick kick), 1:02.
THS — Will Carlile 3-yard pass from Dick (Patrick kick), 0:08.
THS — McMillan 80-yard pass from Dick (Patrick kick), 2:58.
FGHS — Will Rumbley 49-yard pass from Singleton (Mielnick kick), 10:33.
THS — McMillan 36-yard pass from Dick (conversion failed), 7:04.
THS — Dick 7-yard run (kick failed), 4:51.