By Michael Kinney
The Moore American
MOORE — It took a few weeks for Southmoore, but that elusive identity it’s been searching for has finally taken shape. No longer is it the finesse team that likes to throw the ball all over the field.
In the span of a couple of games, the SaberCats have transformed into a ground and pound bully that likes to beat up their opponents. Which is what they did Friday in a 17-3 win over Edmond Memorial at Moore Stadium.
“It was just a hard fought game,” senior Pierce Speed said. “We knew we could run the ball on them. This is the same us. We are just doing what we got to do to win. If it’s an ugly win, we’ll take it.”
Trailing 17-3, Edmond Memorial still had a little hope left as it drove down the field in the final minutes. Quarterback Mick Mayerske hit his receivers for short passes and drove the team into Southmoore territory.
Needing only a touchdown to make it a one possession game, Mayerske threw a 30-yard pass into the end zone. However, Southmoore freshman Quindon Lewis made a diving interception in the end zone with 1:53 left on the clock to put the game away. It was his first interception of his career and the third for the team on the night.
“Coaches called the right play,” Lewis said. “It’s execution. That’s what happens when you execute.”
Behind Jaleon Walker’s 180 rushing yards, Southmoore plowed through the Bulldogs and moved to 5-3 on the season.
“We are just going to basically ground and pound it until somebody can stop it,” Walker said. “It’s really big. We wanted to come in here and make some noise as far as a team. I wanted to put the team on my back as much as I could and let them know they could lean on me.”
Southmoore didn’t waste any time showing Edmond what its game plan was going to be on the night. They gave the Bulldogs a heavy dose of Walker on the opening drive of the game. The senior tailback carried the team 65 yards down to Edmond’s 15 yard line.
Speed then came in and finished off the drive with a a two-yard touchdown run. The SaberCats took six minutes off the clock.
Edmond tried to answer back, but safety Tristan Johnson intercepted Mayerske on the Bulldogs’ first possession. It led to another Speed touch down and a 14-0 advantage with 2:23 left in first quarter.
“They line up in a certain front and I knew if they were in that certain front, we could really attack it,” Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman said. “The first two drives, they were in that front and we had a lot of success. After that second drive, they changed what they were going to do.”
Edmond Memorial didn’t complete a pass or pick up a first down on its first three possessions of the night. The SaberCats’ defense had the them shut down most of the first half.
However, the Cats gave them a chance when they were forced to punt from deep in their own territory and the kick went 14 yards. The Bulldogs turned it into a 29-yard field goal attempt that was wide left.
In the second half, the Bulldogs began to feed Warren Wand the football. The 5-7, 170-pound tailback weaved his way in and out of the clutches of the Southmoore defenders.
But the Cats held them to a 42-yard field goal.
Southmoore entered the fourth quarter leading 14-3 and in complete control. Even after Walker and Speed both went down with cramps in the same series, Darrien Moss took over where they left off and got them down to the 8-yard line.
After taking 5:30 minutes off the clock, Chris Nemecek kicked a 31-yard field goal to extend lead back to 14 points.
Southmoore is now in a four-way tie for second place in District 6A-4 with two games left in the season. But they believe they have the key to pushing on into the postseason.
“We have a lot of young guys,” Brickman said. “We had two freshmen playing in the secondary. The biggest thing was to shut down their running game. If you make a team one-dimensional, you can dictate what they are going to do. If you can run the ball, play good defense and play good special teams, you’re going to be a pretty good team.”
The SaberCats face Choctaw at 7 p.m. Friday at Bill Jensen Stadium in Choctaw.
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth email@example.com