JOHN HASLER/Special to the Phoenix

Toby West extends for a touchdown for Fort Gibson at Broken Bow on Friday. Fort Gibson suffered the loss, 37-24.

In a game that switched leads seven times in a battle of District 4A-4 unbeatens, Fort Gibson ran out of counterpunches Friday.

Broken Bow’s 17-unanswered points in the second half handed the Tigers their first district loss, 37-24, at Broken Bow.

Christian Brumley threw two TD passes in that run, one to Britten Dollarhide and a 53-yarder backbreaker to Kyran Whitfield. Both wrapped around a 39-yard field goal by A.Z. Zaragosa.

What hurt on the Whitfield score was the Tigers had appeared to snatch the momentum back on a Tim Murphy sack, forcing a third and 18. But Whitfield had the answer, as he had on several earlier occasions, and put his team on a collision course for a week 10 district decider with Poteau.

The Tigers (6-2, 4-1) could still mess that up as they host Poteau next Friday.

It was a 13-10 halftime score in favor of the Savages when the Tigers’ Atlas Potter recovered a Broken Bow fumble on the first series of the second half. Right off, quarterback Cole Mahaney connected with Cade Waggle for a 38-yard touchdown on a post route, giving the Tigers a 17-13 lead.

Brumley brought Broken Bow right back, hitting Whitfield for 65 yards and a 20-17 advantage. But in a span of 1:40 to start the third quarter, back came the Tigers as Toby West broke loose on an 82-yard scamper, making it 24-20.

Again, it was Brumley, capping a 75-yard drive on a pass in the corner of the end zone to Dollarhide for a 26-24 lead he and his team would not relinquish with 2:37 left in the third.

Entering the fourth quarter and facing a third and 15, Mahaney was sacked on a blitz by Dawson Rollins, forcing a punt at the Tiger 41. Whitfield returned it 47 yards to the Fort Gibson 32, and while the drive died in three plays, Zaragosa’s foot made it 29-24.

The Tigers struck first in the game.

John Lewis picked up a fumbled pitch and gave Fort Gibson a first-and-goal at the 5.  The Tigers were held to a 22-yard field goal by Jaxon Perdue.

The Savages went three-and-out, but got a break on Whitfield’s interception on a third-and-3 play at the Broken Bow 34. 

On a third-and-long from the 48 int the drive, Brumley’s pass to Trenton Owens got a first down at the 34, then Brumley’s 26-yard run on the next play got a first-and-goal. His 8-yard carry made it 7-3.

In the second, the Tigers got the lead back, converting on a pair of fourth-down situations, the last a fourth and 1 with West carrying 10 yards to the Broken Bow 15. 

After Mahaney was sacked putting the Tigers in a third-and-long, he drew a pass interference call on a toss to Waggle in the end zone. West would take it in on a 7-yard run to put the Tigers up 10-7.

Connor Loepp’s sack forced a turnover on downs, but the Savages got two big breaks. A holding penalty wiped out a 60-yard touchdown off a bubble screen from Mahaney to Waggle. 

Moments later, Landon Coffey came up with a blocked punt with under 3 minutes to go at the 27. Brumley found Owens at the 19 before connecting with  Whitfield for 19 yards, putting Broken Bow back up 13-10 with 2:37 to play in the half.

“I thought we let this one slip through our hands there in the fourth quarter but I didn’t think we executed like we could have all night long,” said Tigers head coach Greg Whiteley. “When we needed a drive we were behind the chains and something would always happen and we really stalled there late.”

A 22-yard run by West to the Savages 37 on the ensuing possession had Fort Gibson in business, but Broken Bow would force a punt.  The Tigers would return favor with under a minute to go and brought the house on a punt inside the 10. Waggle’s 44-yard return of the punt for a touchdown was wiped out by a roughing the kicker flag, and the half ended a couple plays later.

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