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Loss soaks district title hopes

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Hall outlasts KHS on rain-drenched night to claim 3A-1 crown

  • Loss soaks district title hopes
    KINGFISHER’S Wes Hine (72) raises the ball after recovering a fumble for the Jackets against Heritage Hall. The lineman recorded a team-high nine tackles in the 27-3 defeat. [Photo by Chris Simon/www.simon-spo

As if playing the top-ranked and defending state champions wasn’t enough last week, the Kingfi sher Yellowjackets also had to battle the elements.

All of that became too much to overcome as the Yellowjackets were outlasted 27-3 Friday by Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City.

“Both teams had to play on the same field, so that’s not an excuse,” said KHS head coach Jeff Myers. “But that doesn’t mean it was easy. It wasn’t a great night for football.”

Kingfisher’s defense kept the Jackets in it, but the offense mustered 120 total yards and a fi eld goal on a rain-soaked fi eld.

“We just never could get anything going on that side,” Myers said.

Kingfisher got a 27-yard field goal from Clayton Abercrombie on its first drive, a kick that pulled the Jackets within 6-3 with two seconds left in the fi rst quarter.

It remained that score at halftime.

“The elements probably limited their offense, too, but I still think our defense played really well,” Myers said.

“In fact, I thought it was one of the better games of the season for us on that side of the ball.”

The defensive front stymied Heritage Hall’s run game after the Chargers’ first drive, which went 80 yards over the fi rst fi ve-plus minutes of the fi rst quarter.

After that, Kingfisher stiffened up.

Wes Hine had a team-high nine tackles and also recovered a fumble, which was Heritage Hall’s only turnover.

Case Wills and Hayden Stafford, also playing up front, had seven tackles apiece.

The Chargers also scored on their first drive of the second half as Phillip Smitherman made a diving catch for a 33-yard touchdown and a 13-3 Charger lead.

Meanwhile, Kingfi sher’s offense remained mostly in neutral with the exception of a couple of drives in which it ultimately couldn’t capitalize.

The Jacket run game posted just 39 net yards on 33 attempts.

The passing game was largely the best chance at moving the ball. Still, he was just 6 of 15 for 81 yards.

Kingfisher’s best chance came in the second quarter when it drove into the Heritage Hall red zone. However, eventually forced to a fourth down, the Jackets saw Stephenson’s pass to the corner of the end zone go just over the outstretched hands of Clayton Abercrombie.

“If we score there, who knows?” Myers contemplated. “That would have given us the lead and changed the complexion of the game.”

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Chargers were able to pull away.

The Chargers were in the shadow of the goal line to start the quarter, but the Jackets made the Chargers chew up nearly two minutes before scoring for a 20-3 lead.

Kingfisher was inching the ball upfield on the next possession, but was set back by a penalty. Soon after, Stephenson was flushed from the pocket and stripped of the ball.

The Chargers recovered and turned that short fi eld into their fi nal score.

“Even though we didn’t produce much on offense, I still felt like we were in the game the entire way,” Myers said. “You just felt that if we could break that big play, it might start to snowball.

“It just didn’t happen.”

Heritage Hall essentially clinched the district championship with the victory, despite having two games left. With wins already against Perkins-Tryon, John Marshall and KHS, the Chargers could lose one of their final two games and still win the district.

KHS is left to play for third and fourth place, meaning the Jackets will be on the road to begin the playoffs.

They host Mount St. Mary this Friday on Senior Night. The Rockets are 1-7 overall and 0-5 in the district.

A win there sets up a Week 10 showdown at John Marshall that could determine third and fourth, depending on the Bears’ outcome with Perkins-Try-on this week.

“Are we disappointed in the outcome? Sure,” said Myers. “But do we still have a lot to play for? Absolutely.

“We’re still a good football team that’s happened to lose to four really good teams and I still don’t feel we’ve put together our best game yet. I feel like we can get that done.”