FORT GIBSON – Kamaron Clompton had a coming out party of sorts Friday night for the Fort Gibson Tigers.
The senior hasn’t touched the football at the running back position since his freshman year, took last season off, but showed Friday night he’s ready to make a statement for his final year, rushing his way to a 162-yard night on 18 carries to lead the Tigers to a 17-13 come-from-behind win over the Tecumseh Savages Friday night at Leo Donahue Stadium.
“We knew what Kamaron could do for us, we weren’t shocked at him tonight,” said Tiger coach Greg Whiteley. “We have some very strong running backs in him. Deven Woodworth and Tim Murphy. I told the kids at halftime we’re going to keep pounding them the rest of the night. It was going to come down to who was tougher tonight.”
Trying to set the tone early, the Tigers came out swinging on the opening kickoff with an onside kick, John Lewis snagged the loose ball and put the home team in business on the Tecumseh 27-yard line to open the game.
The running game sputtered at best, leading to a 10-play drive of just over five minutes but only netted the Tigers a Jaxon Perdue 20-yard field goal to go up 3-0.
Four plays later, the Savages slot receiver Jake Trice hauled in a 40-yard Money Valois pass to put the visitors up 6-3 with 5:32 left in the opening quarter.
Three minutes later, after picking off Tiger quarterback Cole Mahaney, Savage slot receiver Gavyn Rogers took a jet sweep 40 yards to the house to push the Tecumseh lead to 13-3 with 2:14 left in the first quarter.
Just when the Savages looked like they had the Tigers number, Woodworth, playing linebacker stripped the ball away from the Savages’ Kane Ainesworth after a 42-yard scamper down the Tigers' sideline.
On the back of the turnover, Clopton busted off a 41-yard run on a second and 20 to the Savage 37. One play later, the Tigers’ Mahaney found a diving Morice Ford for a 37 yard touchdown strike and pulled Fort Gibson to within 13-10 with 1:20 to go before halftime.
Tecumseh once again methodically marched down field only to find themselves in a fourth and 23 at the Fort Gibson 29, after a bad snap and a pair of sacks by the Tigers defense. After forcing the turnover on downs, Clopton took a handoff over left tackle, stuttered back inside then broke five tackles en route to a 55 yard run to the Savage 2. Mahaney snuck in from there to put the Tigers up 17-13 with 2:03 left in the third quarter.
“I just felt in the zone from the second quarter on,” said Clopton. “Coach told us at half that we were just going to wear them down and to hold on to the ball. The line hooked up and kept them off of me all night.”
Only touching the ball twice in the fourth quarter, the Savages were unable to gain any traction against a surging Tiger defense. Woodworth again found the quarterback for a sack then forced Ainesworth to cough the ball up for the second time on the night.
Fort Gibson’s defense held Tecumseh to just 33 yards total offense in the fourth quarter and three first downs.
“We weren’t ourselves in the first half tonight, we made too many silly mistakes. Missing blocks, running bad routes, not tackling,” said Whiteley. “After we settled down and got tougher we showed what we could do.” “Lots of kids stepped up tonight and played a big game, I am very thrilled the way we played in the second half.”
The Tigers will travel to Catoosa next week.
FORT GIBSON 17, TECUMSEH 13
Fort Gibson 3 7 7 0—17
Tecumseh 13 0 0 0—13
FGHS – Jaxon Perdue 20 yard FG, 6:51.
THS – Jake Trice 40 yard pass from Monte Valois (kick blocked), 5:32
THS – Gavyn Rogers 40 run (Kevin Dodd kick), 2:14 Second quarter
FGHS – Morice Ford 37 pass from Cole Mahaney (Perdue kick), 1:20
FGHS – Mahaney 2 run (Perdue kick), 2:03
First downs 13 14
Rushes-att. 39-167 31-156
Passes C-A-I 4-11-1 9-15-0
Passing yards 57 123
Penalties-yards 2-15 7-55
Punts-avg. 3-38 3-29
Fumbles-lost 2-2 4-2
RUSHING – FGHS – Kamaron Clopton 18-162, Deven Woodworth 11-30, Tim Murphy 5-16, Cole Mahaney 6-2
THS – Dylan Graham 8-42, Kane Ainesworth 7-38, Gavyn Rogers 6-57, Monte Valoia 9-5
PASSING FGHS – Cole Mahaney 4-11-1-1-57, THS – Monte Valoia 9-15-1-0-123
RECEIVING – FGHS – Hunter Branch 2-17, THS – Jake Trice 5-61