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Tigers advance to quarterfinals with thrilling win over Mooreland

November 23, 2022 - 00:00
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They just keep finding ways.

That’s how Crescent football coach J.L. Fisher described his team.

The Tigers found a way to advance last Friday as they got multiple late defensive stops to hold off Mooreland 19-18 in the second round of the Class A playoffs.

“We had to make a play late and that’s what our guys did,” said Fisher, whose team improved to 10-1 with the home win.

The Tigers twice fell behind by two scores, but finally took their first lead with 10:12 to play when Kade Varner found C.J. Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown.

The Bearcats tried to answer with a long drive, but eventually turned it over on downs deep in Crescent territory.

However, the Bearcats got it right back when Crescent fumbled it after a long run.

“They were basically right back where they ended their last drive,” Fisher said.

With time running down, Mooreland completed a pass inside the 10-yard line.

That’s when Wilson struck again, this time by forcing a fumble that Crescent was able to recover.

The Tigers were then able to run out the clock as their guests had no timeouts left.

“We thought we were in good shape after stopping them that first time,” Fisher said. “Turns out we needed to make one more defensive stand.

“And we did.” That’s what Crescent has done much of the season. It was the Tigers’ fourth win in one-score games.

Two have been against Mooreland.

The teams opened the season against one another in Week 0. The Tigers won that game, also on their home field, 7-0.

That Bearcat team ran mostly Wing-T.

This time around, Mooreland ran a lot of empty backfield sets to take advantage of quarterback Carter Sampson’s abilities.

“He’d look to pass, but he’d also take off and run if it wasn’t there,” Fisher said. “That made it tougher on us.”

Sampson was 8 of 21 passing for 94 yards, but was more effective running. He totaled 167 yards on 28 attempts.

Both options were on display in the first half as Sampson hit Stetson Roper for a 5-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. He ran for a 14-yard TD in the second as Mooreland took a 12-0 lead.

Tanner Rice cut it to 12-7 with a 1-yard score in the second quarter.

However, the Bearcats went back up 18-7 in the third with a 53-yard touchdown run by Austin Owens.

Rice scored his second TD of the game with 7:13 to play in the third to pull the Tigers within 18-13.

He finished the game with 121 yards on 20 attempts. Rice also caught a 30-yard pass.

“I thought Tanner and CJ had really good games for us,” Fisher said.

Wilson ran for 42 yards. The Tiger defense was led by Luke Descher’s eight tackles.

Gabe South, Mason Payne and Isaiah Lovett had six apiece.

Crescent plays Gore (120) at 7 p.m. Friday at Harrah in the quarterfinal round.

The Pirates are coming off a 55-12 win over Woodland.

They’ve scored at least 47 points in every game this season and have eight shutouts on defense.

“They remind me a lot of our 2017 bunch,” said Fisher, recalling the Crescent team that reached the Class A title game.

“They’re big, they’re athletic and they can do a lot of different things. They’re solid in all three phases and are so well-coached. We’ll need to play really well against them.”