Bulldogs end KHS season in 3A quarters
Kingfisher’s almost-annual trip to the Tulsa area to take on a football juggernaut in the second round of the playoffs continued last week.
The Yellowjackets’ 2022 campaign came to an end Friday with a 48-12 loss at Lincoln Christian.
The defeat to the second- ranked Bulldogs ended a four-game win streak for KHS, which completed the season with an 8-4 mark.
“We knew we’d have to play an almost flawless game and even then it would still be tough,” said Jeff Myers, whose Kingfisher teams have advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs in 17 of his 19 seasons.
“They’re just a really talented and well-coached team and it’s going to take a tremendous effort to beat them.”
Lincoln Christian led 20-0 after a quarter and 34-0 by halftime.
The Bulldogs were up 48-0 before the Jackets scored their two touchdowns late in the third quarter.
Jax Sternberger pushed his way into the end zone for an 11-yard run at the 4:53 mark and Cade Cooper scored on a 19-yard run about three minutes later.
Prior to that, moving the ball against the stout Bulldogs defense was a chore.
The Jackets did rush for 156 yards, but much of that came late in the game.
Sternberger was limited to 3 of 12 passing for just 26 yards and was picked off twice early.
“They’re solid up front and fast on the back end,” Myers said. “We had been running the ball really well, but they made it extremely tough on us.”
Meanwhile, Lincoln Christian quarterback Luke Milligan was able to march his team down the field.
The junior was 21 of 35 for 283 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Nine different Bulldogs caught at least one pass, led by Seth Kruse, who hauled in six for 138.
Lincoln Christian balanced that with a running attack that totaled 166 yards and averaged 4.6 a carry.
John Washington led the way with 85 yards on 12 carries. He scored twice on the ground and once receiving.
Moses Fullingim also ran for two scores.
“You can’t focus on just one part of their game, because they can hurt you in so many ways,” Myers said.
Sternberger paced Kingfi sher’s run game with 64 yards on nine carries.
Dallen Barton added another 63 on 18 attempts.
Defensively, Cooper and Kyle Borelli had 10 tackles apiece.
Borelli got his despite leaving the game temporarily with a shoulder injury.
Aaron Delatorre added seven tackles while Kasen Blair, Barton, Harrison Evans, Jake Reagan and Wrigley Kennedy had five apiece.
This was the fourth time in five years KHS has played in the second round in the Tulsa area.
KHS also lost at Lincoln Christian in 2019 before the Bulldogs went on to win the state title. It was at Holland Hall in 2020 before the Dutch eventually hoisted the gold ball.
Kingfisher bucked that trend in 2018 as it stunned an undefeated Berryhill team in 2018. Last year was the lone exception when the Jackets were defeated in the first round.
Lincoln Christian (111), which has played in the last three state championship games, moved into the semifinals against Metro Christian (12-0).
Metro Christian won District 3A-1 while KHS was third. In most polls, either Metro or Lincoln Christian is ranked No. 1 in the class.
For KHS, 12 seniors played their final game in a Yellowjacket uniform.
“I hurt for them because every year it’s going to come to an end,” Myers said. “You hope it ends with a win in the playoffs, but only one team ends it that way.
“But these guys have nothing to be ashamed of. There were a lot of question marks entering the year. They went 7-3 in the regular season and won a playoff game, which isn’t easy. Their leadership was a big part of that and they set a good example for the classes that will follow them.”