MOORE — Last week was not a fun time around Southmoore. After losing to Edmond Memorial, the team that started 3-0 found itself on the outside looking in.
Instead of staying pat, the SaberCats made a few changes heading into its matchup Friday with Choctaw. That included removing senior tailback and 1,000-yard rusher Karltrell Henderson from the starting lineup.
But it was Southmoore’s defense that returned to the field with a different state of mind. The unit played angry, fast and with bad intentions as it keyed a 63-7 victory Friday over the Yellow Jackets at Moore Stadium.
“It always hurts losing,” senior Jonathan Martin said. “When you come back out and get a W, it feels better. But I’m not satisfied. And I think I speak for a lot of others. I don’t think we are satisfied with this win.”
Heading into the night, Southmoore (6-3, 3-3) and Mustang were tied for fifth place in District 6A-4. They both trailed Edmond Santa Fe and Lawton High by one game. However, Mustang beat Lawton and Memorial lost to Santa Fe to make it a four-way tie with one game left in the season. Only two of them will advance to the postseason.
“Obviously, we have put ourselves in a bind and we have to win our last two games with points,” Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman said. “So we talked about this is our first obstacle and we had to win by 15, and we did.”
Jackson Stallings struck first for the SaberCats. The 6-foot-1, 214 defensive end scooped up a Choctaw fumble and went untouched 27 yards into the end zone. The Yellow Jackets coughed up the ball again the next possession and Jonathan Martin pounced on it. It led to another Stallings touchdown.
The SaberCats scored on its third consecutive possession to start the game on a Jaelon Walker 24-yard touchdown run. Keaton Bell and Nick Ward added two more defensive touchdowns to put the ‘Cats up 35-0 in the first quarter.
“I just watched a lot of film,” Ward said of his interception. “I knew what was coming.”
The rout was on, and the Yellow Jackets were helpless to stop it. Southmoore’s defense accounted for four touchdowns after not scoring a single one all of last season.
The ‘Cats led 56-0 at halftime. The only bad news was that Jaelon Walker left the game with back pain in the second quarter. He didn’t return for the rest of the game.
With Henderson out for disciplinary issues and Walker hurt, Reginald Dantzler got the start and performed well. The junior knows he could get the start again next week, and he’s looking forward to the opportunity.
“I think I performed good, but there is room for improvement,” Dantzler said. “I feel like it was well earned and I worked hard for it. I was excited.”
Most of Southmoore’s starters made their way to the bench in the second half with the game well in hand. The SaberCats will end their regular season next week when it hosts Mustang.
“All we can do is execute and do what we can do to get that spot,” Martin said. “If we fall short, we fall short. But we can do everything in our own power to help us secure that spot.”
Michael Kinney Follow me @eyeamtruth firstname.lastname@example.org