CATOOSA — For a brief moment things got interesting for the Fort Gibson Tigers. But as quickly as they let Catoosa back in, Fort Gibson put them away.
Fort Gibson’s Cole Mahaney threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns and the Tiger defense came up with big plays of its own as Fort Gibson defeated Catoosa, 52-17, Friday night at Frank McNabb Field.
“This was a complete team effort,” said Fort Gibson head coach Greg Whiteley. “Offense, defense, special teams — we made plays all over the field.”
Fort Gibson had built a 24-0 halftime lead and appeared to have things in hand. But the first two offensive plays of the second quickly gave Catoosa what they needed to make a game of it in what turned out to be a wild third quarter.
The Tiger rushing game amassed 163 yards in the first half. But on the first play of its first two drives to start the third quarter, the Tigers fumbled deep in their own territory.
The result was a 23-yard field goal by Jonathan Molina and an 18-yard touchdown pass from Cody Busch to Gavin Ragsdale to quickly cut the lead to 24-11.
“It was just one of those things where we weren’t protecting the ball and not being focused,” Whiteley said. “But they made good plays in stripping the ball and getting on it.”
On its third possession, Fort Gibson found itself with third and long and all the momentum going Catoosa’s way. That when Mahaney found Cade Waggle open down the middle for a 70-yard scoring strike to give the Tigers a 31-11 lead.
“We just felt it was time to try the deep ball,” Whiteley said. “Cole threw a great pass and Cade made a great catch.”
The Tiger defense then stepped up with a couple of big plays of its own. On Catoosa’s next possession, Mike Johnson picked off Busch and returned the interception 42 yards to increase Fort Gibson’s lead to 38-11.
Fort Gibson was moving the ball on its next possession when they fumbled it away for the third time in the quarter. But the defense responded two plays later when Morice Ford intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards as the Tigers took control with a 45-11 lead.
“Every defense will bend a little against today’s offenses,” Whiteley said. “We challenged them to make a stop. I thought we did a good job of tackling in open field and putting pressure on them.”
Fort Gibson got off to a quick start. Deven Woodworth spun out of a tackle at the line of scrimmage and raced 45 yards on the Tigers first possession to give them a 6-0 lead.
It took one play on Fort Gibson’s next possession to find the end zone when Mahaney connected with Cameron Dornan for an 82-yard catch and run to make it 14-0.
A Landon Bebee interception set up Fort Gibson’s next score. The Tigers drove 52 yards in just three plays and took a 21-0 lead on a 45-yard run by Kamaron Clopton. Clopton, who also had a 32-yard touchdown run late in the game, led the Tigers with 95-yards rushing on 11 carries.
Fort Gibson’s defense held Catoosa’s offense in check the entire first half. Catoosa was held to negative 14 yards rushing in the first half.
The Tigers ended the half with a two-minute drive the was highlighted by a 22-yard run by Mahaney and passes of 16 and eight yards to Hunter Branch that set up a 26-yard field goal by Jaxon Perdue as time ran out.
FORT GIBSON 52, CATOOSA 17
Score by quarters
Fort Gibson 21 3 21 7—52
Catoosa 0 0 11 6—17
FG – Deven Woodworth 45 run (run fail) 10:00
FG – Cameron Dornan 82 pass from Cole Mahaney (Mahaney pass to Hunter Branch) 8:14
FG – Kamaron Clopton 45 run (Jaxon Perdue kick) 0:07
FG – FG, Perdue 26 0:00
CAT – FG, Jonathan Molina 23 8:31
CAT – Gavin Ragsdale 18 pass from Cody Busch (Busch pass to Zach Ferguson) 7:28
FG – Mahaney 70 pass to Cade Waggle (Perdue kick) 6:30
FG – Mike Johnson 42 interception return (Perdue kick) 5:17
FG – Morice Ford 40 interception return (Perdue kick) 1:22
CAT – Corey Chilcoat 7 run (pass fail) 10:30
FG – Clopton 32 run (Perdue kick) 4:48
Rushing – FG, Kamaron Clopton 11-95 2TD; Catoosa, Aiden Scraper 15-37.
Passing – FG, Cole Mahaney 8-14-0 220 2TD; Catoosa, Cody Busch 9-23-3 160 TD.
Receiving – FG, Cameron Dornan 2-96 TD; Catoosa, Jonathan Molina 6-127.