The Tigers emerged from the den ready to make a statement this season, giving Glenpool more than it could handle last Thursday in the football season-opener.
Led by junior workhorse Asher Brewer’s four touchdowns, the Class 4A Tigers (1-0) topped the 5A Warriors (0-1) with a 34-12 victory at Billy Vessels Memorial Stadium.
Brewer finished the game with 27 carries for 183 yards rushing for the Tigers.
The game was held during what normally is considered Zero Week, which precedes the Week 1 game, and has been considered more or less a scrimmage. This season, the Tigers took the option offered by the OSSAA to make the Zero Week a game that counts, in exchange for a bye week ahead of district play.
Brewer’s first TD came at the 5:11 mark in the first quarter, after he and Cleveland quarterback Ben Ward inched the chains forward on several short runs. But during the 80-yard drive, it was a 22-yard gain by Brewer that put the Tigers on the 1-yard line, and Brewer punched it in on the next play. Also the Tigers’ kicker, Brewer booted the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-6 lead.
On the previous series, the Cleveland defense previously put a stop to Glenpool’s attempt at a two-point conversion. They held the Warriors on another two-point attempt also.
Ward, who finished with 83 yards rushing, scored on third-and-1 QB keeper from the 1 with 9:31 left in the first; and a Brewer PAT gave the Tigers a 14-6 cushion.
Brewer was not only a leader on offense, but he also recovered a fumble for a score. After the anchor of the Cleveland defensive line, senior tackle Kaden Hanna, sacked the Glenpool quarterback, Brewer took the ball 60 yards to give the Tigers a 21-12 lead early in the third quarter.
He scored again on a 12-yard run with 8:58 left in the game.
With 3:35 remaining, Brewer put the game officially out of reach for the Warriors. He juked his way downfield 31 yards, leaving diving defenders in his path. Brewer fell across the goal line to give the Tigers the 34-12 lead.
The Tigers had several players who stood out in the opener, including sophomore cornerback Gabe Martinez, who in the fourth quarter leapt into the air at midfield and intercepted the Warriors’ “wing and a prayer” pass as they were behind two TDs and not completely out of it until Martinez let the air out of their balloon.
Senior lineman Luke Hollowell, who seems to have built upon his big 2018 season, had numerous hard hits both on offense and defense. Holowell was all over the ball the entire game and pressuring the QB right along with Hanna.
Senior defensive back Keagen Chapman also came back this season with force – he was a key in the secondary for the Tigers, who shined as a defensive unit all night. Brewer had eight tackles on defense, and the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Hanna had seven, and three of those resulted in a loss of yardage for Glenpool.
Next up for the Tigers is the annual rivalry game against Hominy. Cleveland hosts the Bucks this season at Billy Vessels Memorial Stadium. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday – making it one of the longest running rivalry games in the state. The Tigers and Bucks have been facing off each season since 1922.
In 2018, the Tigers topped the Bucks 42-12. Thursday will be the 98th meeting between the two teams.
For those not able to make the games, the American will be live-streaming most games on its Facebook page for the third season, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Bob Hurley Auto.