Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 10, 2012

Rogers dominates Tigers in rain soaked affair

ROGERS, Ark. — The rain poured in sheets, wind gusts blew at speeds well over 30 mph, and lightning lit up the sky in all directions. Fans were forced back into their vehicles, bands retreated under the bleachers, and the teams sought shelter in their respective locker rooms.

After a one hour, 12 minute delay, Tahlequah and Rogers (Ark.) finally got underway. But after one play from scrimmage, the Tigers were likely wishing play had never commenced, as the host Mounties pounded Tahlequah from the outset en route to a 45-13 victory Friday night.

After a short opening kickoff return positioned Rogers at its own 16-yard line, quarterback Nick Wary sprinted 84 yards on the first play of the game, Austin Griffin added the the point after, and the Mounties led 7-0.

After the Tigers went three-and-out, Rogers wasted no time adding to its lead. Stokes Wenzler carried for 11 yards on the first play of the drive, followed by another Wary touchdown scamper; this one from 58 yards out. Griffin’s extra point bumped the tally to 14-0.

Another brief Tahlequah drive ended in a short punt, setting Rogers up first-and-10 from its own 48-yard line. Three plays later, Ty Galyean capped a three-play, 52-yard drive, with a 26-yard touchdown run. Griffin’s point after gave the Mounties a 21-0 lead.

The Tigers responded with an impressive drive of their own. Tahlequah covered 38 yards on eight plays, primarily on the legs of running back Mason McMillan, before quarterback David Dick put a bow on the drive. Dick took a keeper to the outside, spun off a tackler, and outran the Rogers defense to pay dirt, 34 yards for the score. The snap was mishandled on the point after attempt, and the Rogers lead was 21-6.

A poor kick allowed the Mounties to set up shop at the RHS 48 on the ensuing possession. Facing his first third down play of the game, Wary completed a 25-yard pass to Preston Mauldin. Two plays later, Preston Young reached the 2-yard line after a 25 yard run. Wary scored from a yard out on the next play, Griffin added the kick, and Rogers led 28-6.

A modest punt and a halo infraction moved Rogers to the THS 30 to start its next possession. Two plays later, Galyean scored from 21 yards out, but the play was negated by a hold. After Preston Workman picked up 15 yards, Galyean again reached the end zone, this time from 15 yards out. For the second consecutive time, however, the touchdown was scratched out by a holding penalty. It didn’t matter. Wary ran in from 20 yards out on the following play, Griffin added the point after, and the Mounties led 35-6.

On the next Tahlequah possession, things went from bad to worse for the Tigers. The drive died at the THS 31-yard line, sending Tahlequah back into punt formation. Bear Frank’s punt traveled straight up in the air, bounced backward, and was ultimately touched dead after netting negative-7 yards. Three plays later, Griffin added a 42-yard field goal, setting the half time margin at 38-6.

The teams traded scores in the second half, Rogers adding another Wary touchdown run – his fifth – while the Tigers were the beneficiary of a Mason McMillan scoring trot. Wary finished with 181 yards on eight carries. McMillan ran for 75 yards on 19 carries.

“We’re going to give Mason the football. He can run the football. He understands what we want to do within the concepts of our offense, and he’s going to give us 100 percent every time he touches the football. And our opponents know that. We’ve got to do a better job of allowing him to have success.”

Also of note was the absence of Dick in the second half, as Tahlequah instead went with sophomore Will Carlile. Carlile finished 3-of-4, with 33 yards, and rushed for another 27 yards on four carries. Dick was 3-of-7 for 30 yards, while rushing for 60 yards on eight attempts.

“We went into tonight knowing that Will would get some snaps, we just didn’t know when,” said Gilbert. “We needed to get him some snaps just in case something we’re to happen to David. But also, its competition. We’re trying to compete at every position. That’s why that was put in place.”

THS will play its first game of the season in the friendly confines of Doc Wadley Stadium vs. Sallisaw next week.

“We’ve got a big challenge next week versus Sallisaw. Coach Benson does a great job. He’s done a great job since he’s been there. It’s a big challenge for us, but we’re never going to back down from a challenge. We know we have an opportunity to prove to ourselves and to everyone else that we can play at a high level.”

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