Tahlequah Daily Press

October 14, 2012

Cougars bounce back to beat Lincoln Christian

From Staff reports

— TULSA — Keys went into this season circling a crucial four-game stretch of games from Week 5 to Week 8. The Cougars knew, ultimately, how they fared during those four games would likely determine their postseason fate.

The first two games of that run weren’t pretty. Keys was outscored 105-9 by Sequoyah and Vian.

All of sudden, long-term goals looked in doubt.

Not so fast.

Keys reboudned from two blowout losses and posted a season-changing, 33-13 victory over Lincoln Christian at Dennis Byrd Stadium on Friday night.

“The guys had their heads down and we just got them back up,” Keys coach Gary Willis said. “When you get beat by programs like Sequoyah and Vian, it’s tough on the kids. But we just had to have a talk with the kids and get them on the right track.”

The Cougars (3-3, 2-1 District 3A-7) pounced on Lincoln Christian early on.

Cody Cole caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Eubanks to get Keys a quick 7-0 lead. The Cougars would add a J.J. Ozturk field goal — one of four in the game — and a Eubanks 7-yard TD run to stake claim to a 17-0 edge in the first half.

“We were hoping they were down from last week and had to jump on them early,” Willis said of Lincoln Christian, which suffered a 48-6 setback in Week 6. “Once we got the lead, I didn’t feel like they could stop us from playing our game.”

Eubanks and Cole spearheaded a two-headed rushing attack. Eubanks carried the ball 21 times for 205 yards while Cole chipped in with 175 yards on 23 rushes.

On defense, Cole had 10 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack. Tyler Blankenship collected eight tackles.

Lincoln Christian (4-3, 1-2) cut Keys’ lead to 17-7 on Austin Grauer’s 15-yard pass to Andrew Wright. But in the second half, Keys got a TD run from Cole and three Ozturk field goals.

Keys will now return home to take on Hilldale in another important 3A-7 game.

“A win like that gives us a lot of confidence going to play against a good Hilldale team,” Willis said.