Another week, another district win for the Tigers.
Cleveland (4-1 overall, 2-0 District 4A-3) dominated McLain (2-3, 0-2) on homecoming night at Billy Vessels Memorial Stadium last Friday.
Helping the offense with its huge output was star running back Asher Brewer, who made his return to the offensive lineup after healing from injury. The junior chipped away at yardage all night, starting with the Tigers’ first series of the game. He and junior quarterback Ben Ward moved the ball led a 5-minute opening drive, which featured rushes by both, plus a Ward-to-Justin Keeler connection that set up a 3-yard keeper for a touchdown by Ward at the 7:33 mark in the first. A point-after kick from Brewer gave the Tigers an early 7-0 lead over the Titans.
Senior Keagen Chapman, who had three TDs in last week’s victory, upped the ante when he scored on a 31-yard pass from Ward to put Cleveland in front by two TDs. Brewer again nailed the PAT and it was 14-0.
McLain’s QB answered with 9:53 remaining in the second quarter. He scrambled all over the field on third-and-9, outrunning the Tigers to the corner of the endzone. The Titans went for 2, but the attempt was stopped by the defense.
Then Brewer went to work again, bringing a shot of the good stuff to the Cleveland offense. With 8:33 to the half, Brewer gave the Tigers a 21-6 cushion when he ran 17 yards to the McLain 3, followed it with a 3-yard TD run, then booted his own PAT.
Another offensive menace to McLain all night was receiver Noah Townley. After McLain turned the ball over on downs near midfield halfway through the second quarter, the Tigers only needed 14 seconds to score. Ward arced a beauty that dropped down over Townley’s shoulder for a 53-yard TD. Add the Brewer kick, and Cleveland roared to a 28-6 advantage, hanging on to it until the halftime break.
A few minutes into the third, Brewer, who really wasn’t even running full speed, went 48 yards to the endzone. His PAT missed wide left, but the Tigers took their largest lead of the night at 34-6. His pathway was aided bigtime by Kaden Hanna, Luke Hollowell, Jake Hiatt, Wesley Stokes and the entire rotation.
With 3:32 left in the third, McLain scored on a short run, but the Titans’ celebration didn’t last long. Two plays later, Ward hooked up with Townley again for a 74-yard TD connection. Brewer’s boot added another and it was Tigers 41, McLain 14.
The Titans managed another score before the game’s end, but again, their point-after attempt failed.
Defensive standouts for the game included Hanna, Hollowell, Chapman, Ethan Aguilar, Gary Buzzard, Tristen Jackson, Shain Hamilton, Keeler, Jacob Schwenker and Gabe Martinez.
Cleveland travels to Bristow (4-1, 0-2) this week to take on the Pirates and determine which team remains undefeated in the district. Bristow has identical wins to Cleveland – both over Oologah (45-21) and McLain (38-0).
Coming: we’ll have a full wrap of running season stats for the Tigers’ offense and defense.