By Andrew Glover
CUSHING, Okla. —
There’s the old adage that it isn’t over until it’s over. The Cushing Tigers trailed by 21 in the fourth quarter and came back in the last seven minutes of the game. Junior Gage Stallworth ran for a 10-yard touchdown and converted the game-winning two-point conversion in a 64-63 Tiger overtime victory over Bristow.
“It was crazy,” Stallworth said. “I knew we needed to get a touchdown on that last drive.”
Bristow looked like it was going to dash Cushing’s hopes as it got the ball to the Cushing 45. Starting quarterback Adam Lomenick fumbled and Cushing recovered at the Pirate 45. The Tigers drove down field and a one-yard touchdown run by Stallworth cut Bristow’s lead to 56-42 with 6:56 left.
On Bristow’s ensuing possession Lomenick threw an interception and Cushing junior Trevor Brandle returned it 32 yards to the Pirate 37. Cushing took advantage as senior quarterback Bingham Hightower sneaked it from a yard out, making it a one possession game.
With less than three minutes left, Cushing forced Bristow to punt and the ball was downed at the Tigers’ 5 with 2:23 left and the Tigers had two timeouts. Hightower completed a 17-yard pass to senior Cole McKnight to the Pirate 27. Brandle caught a 17-yard pass to get past midfield. Cushing had to convert three third downs and one fourth down on the drive. The Tigers got some help as Bristow had two personal fouls and an offsides penalty. Cushing had the ball first and goal at the 10. Stallworth had a five yard run to get the ball to the five. Hightower spiked it. On third and goal, Hightower rolled out and hit Stallworth as he was falling down for a five-yard touchdown. Kicker Brett Helm tied the game with eight seconds left.
“It was crazy,” coach Barrett Shupe said of his team’s 95-yard game-tying drive. “We’ve done it before. We drove 91-yards last week at the end of the first half.”
Bristow got the ball first in overtime. Two Tiger penalties kept the Pirates’ drive going. Running back Blaylen Crawford took advantage with his fourth touchdown of the game on a seven-yard run. Adam Gushi converted the extra point to regain the lead for the Tigers.
It didn’t take long at all for Cushing to respond as Stallworth ran for a 10-yard touchdown on the Tigers first play of overtime. Hightower drew the Pirates offsides moving the conversion a yard closer. The junior quarterback tried to do it again but after he was unsuccessful, Cushing called a timeout. Stallworth took the hand off and dove in the end zone for the game-winner.
“I knew I got in,” Stallworth said. “I looked down when I got the ball across the goal line.”
The Tigers’ sideline erupted. The students rushed the field and people in the stands celebrated.
“We’re 2-0 and at the end of the day that’s most important,” Shupe said. “The comeback was insane. It’s a big rivalry. We started fast, then they hit back and we hit. It was a great football game.
Big plays dominated the first quarter. Hightower threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to McKnight. Lomenick completed a 43-yard pass to Josh Crockett putting the ball at the Tigers’ 15, setting up Lomenick for an 11-yard touchdown run. After Cushing had to punt McKnight intercepted a Lomenick pass at the Tigers’ 48. Stallworth ran for 40 yards to get inside the Bristow 20. Stallworth got all 56 yards on the drive, finishing it with a 4-yard touchdown.
Crockett caught a 28-yard pass and a 17-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 14, which both teams went to the end of the quarter with the game tied. Bristow opened the second quarter by taking advantage of Cushing’s second punt, with Kyle Sanders scoring on a two-yard run, giving the Pirates a 21-14 lead.
The Tigers answered back with an 8-yard touchdown by Stallworth. Bristow looked like it had the extra point stopped but holder Blake Burden completed a conversion pass to Stallworth giving the Tigers a 22-21 lead with 9:26 left.
Bristow turned the momentum in its favor, getting the ball near field as it fall on a sky-high kickoff. The Pirates only used a minute as sophomore running back Blaylen Crawford gave them the lead with a six-yard touchdown run. Cushing turned the ball over on downs after picking up a couple of first downs. A holding penalty and an intentional grounding penalty hurt the drive.
Lomenick found Wilson wide open for a 47-yard touchdown. Cushing’s next drive stalled at the Pirate 48 and had to punt. Crockett fielded it at the 11 and ran through Tiger defenders down the sideline for an 89-yard punt return. After the extra point Bristow held a 42-22 lead.