Two weeks ago, Coweta was held to under 100 yards of offense against Class 4A No. 1 Wagoner.
Friday night, the Tigers found an offense, with help.
Having had to move what was a home game to Indian Bowl Friday night due to a drunk driver’s crash that damage its home stadium and turf, Coweta plowed through Muskogee’s defense for 396 first-half yards en route to a 42-21 victory.
Coweta (2-1) scored on five of its six possessions in the first half.
For the third consecutive week, the Roughers had trouble with a fleet-footed quarterback. Junior Gage Hamm ran for 109 yards and passed for 278, running for one score and throwing for three more, all before halftime. He left the game early in the fourth quarter after taking a hard shot from Rougher linebacker Caleb Webb and finished with 452 yards of offense, 21-of-28 for 323 passing.
Muskogee, meanwhile, is simply trying to find its way, now 0-3 heading into District 6A-3 competition. The Roughers had a night of bad health and bad tackling.
Roughers head coach Rafe Watkins was more frustrated with the latter.
“I can’t emphasize how much we tackle on Tuesday and Wednesday and it doesn’t look like we do it at all,” he said. “It’s frustrating for the defensive staff and it’s frustrating for me. It looks like we don’t practice it at all because it continues to be that way.”
It didn’t take long to see what he was talking about.
The Tigers’ first score, a 49-yard pass from Hamm to Mason Ford, was mostly on Ford’s behalf. The sophomore broke multiple tackles at midfield to escape and darted his way down the Coweta sideline for a 7-0 lead a little over three minutes into the game.
“We had him wrapped up and we try to sling him and throw him down,” Watkins said. “We had four others watching it, and he goes and scores.”
Muskogee’s offense got a huge boost on the kickoff return when Jayden Bell returned it 68 yards to the Coweta 25. Three plays later, quarterback Ty Williams, making his first start of the season after recovering from a hamstring issue, hit a wide open Antonio Zapata for 23 yards and tied the game at 7 with 6:55 to play in the first quarter.
Michael Fletcher returned the ensuing kickoff 58 yards, and it took the Tigers four plays to go 39 yards. Hamm, who completed a couple of passes on the drive, took it the final 2 yards on the ground.
Isaiah Givens bounced off the right side of the line to go 56 yards for a game-tying score to end a five-play drive. One play earlier, Williams, scrambling, fumbled off his own leg but stayed focused enough to play the hop and converted on a 2-yard carry on third-and-1.
The Roughers had Coweta stopped on the next series but Webb in wrapping up Hamm was whistled for a personal foul, giving the Tigers a first down. Hamm then went 34 yards to Ford at the 2, then Ford carried it in two plays later.
“That was his one mistake,” Watkins said of Webb. “But I can’t fault his overall effort. We need more like that, like Zapata and Bell.”
On the next drive, Williams pulled up after scrambling and getting flagged for intentional grounding, forcing a third-down situation. His ensuing pass fluttered to the turf. He went to the sidelines, and Muskogee punted.
He would not return.
Hamm would, and ended the half with two touchdown passes, the first to Na’Kylan Starks for 6 yards and the last one with :07 left, as he hit Ford for the second time, from 14 yards out. That was just after avoiding a sack and hitting tight end Gunnar McCullough for 16 yards on a fourth-down and 10.
Sophomore Walker Newton replaced Williams and was intercepted on his first series of the third quarter. Coweta penetrated the red zone to threaten again, but T.K. Thompson’s interception doused that threat and gave Muskogee some momentum. Isaiah Givens carried for 14 yards and the second of three first downs on a 59-yard drive, capped by a deep toss from Newton to Zapata on a go-route for 33 yards.
The Roughers fought off another red zone penetration on the next drive, taking over at the 6. Moving to his team’s 42, Newton found the speedster Raheim Payne down the middle of the field but he turned the wrong way and couldn’t recover to get a handle on it. Instead of getting within a touchdown, it was a three-and-out.
Muskogee would not threaten again.
Besides Williams, a more serious injury was when Terryn Miles was carted off in the first half with a dislocated knee on special teams play. As for Williams, Watkins just shrugged.
“Kids heal differently. He’s had a month. I guess it’s sore and he didn’t want to run on it and we certainly don’t want to hurt him,” the head coach said. “I don’t have a timeline. He may not play again this year. We’ll take our other quarterbacks and go from here.”
From here is next Friday against Putnam City West.
COWETA 42, MUSKOGEE 21
Cow: Mason Ford 49 pass from Gage Hamm (Brody Rucker kick), 8:29.
Mus: Antonio Zapata 23 pass from Ty Williams (Skyler Onebear kick), 6:55.
Cow: Gage Hamm 2 run (Rucker kick), 5:35.
Mus: Isaiah Givens 56 run (Onebear kick), 10:53.
Cow: Ford 2 run (Rucker kick), 7:50.
Cow: Na’Kylan Starks 6 pass from Hamm (Rucker kick), 2:56.
Cow: Ford 14 pass from Hamm (Rucker kick), 0:07.
Mus: Zapata 33 pass from Walker Newton (Onebear kick), 2:59.
Cow-William Mason 8 run (Rucker kick), 2:49.
Rushing: Cow, Hamm 18-129 (TD). Mus, Givens 11-84 (TD).
Passing: Cow, Hamm 21-28-323 (3 TD). Mus, Walker Newton 2-7-40-1 (TD).
Receiving: Cow, Ford 7-163 (2 TD). Mus, Zapata 3-63 (2 TD).