Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

September 14, 2013

Rogers rushes past Tahlequah

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

Tahlequah has yet to reveal all of its 2014 non-district opponents. However, one thing remains clear: the Tigers are won't be taking on Rogers (Ark.) again.

The Mounties wrapped up a brief two-year series with Tahlequah by harnessing a 41-6 victory in front of sparsely-populated crowd of 1,000 at Doc Wadley Stadium on Friday night.

Tahlequah head coach Brad Gilbert isn't likely to shed too many tears over Rogers' void on his schedule.

"I am glad to be done with Rogers," Gilbert said. "They're a good football team, and they play a physical style of football. And they're extremely well coached and disciplined."

In typical Rogers fashion, the Mounties kept the ball on the ground and chewed the clock up. The visitors from northwest Arkansas carried the ball 50 times for 261 yards and four touchdowns.

Preston Young was one of eight ball carriers for the Mounties, and the 5-foot-9 senior put Rogers in front first on a 5-yard scoring run midway through the second quarter.

After marching deep inside Tahlequah's territory on its first two drives, Rogers (2-0) came up with zero points as proof. So on its third possession, Rogers went briefly to the air with quarterback Max Harrell hitting Sage White for a 38-yard pass to get to Tahlequah's 5-yard line. A few seconds later, Young crossed the goal line with 7:17 left until halftime.

It wouldn't take the Mounties long to score their next touchdown, either.

On the ensuing kickoff, Tahlequah (0-2) failed to corral a squib kick, allowing Rogers to recover at the Tigers' 31-yard line. Two plays later, Bryan Grigsby — who led the Mounties with 93 yards on 13 carries — broke loose for a 30-yard touchdown run.

Tahlequah would follow with an 18-play drive that was punctuated by Kourt McMillan's 8-yard touchdown reception from David Dick with 24 seconds left until halftime. The Tigers failed in their attempt for two points, resulting in a 14-6 score at the break.

"We went into halftime and it was 14-6, and things were going well," Gilbert said. "But we just couldn't get anything started on offense."

It doesn't get more accurate than that.

Before Tahlequah's final drive in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were limited to four drives that yielded 17 yards on 14 plays.

Rogers, on the other hand, was in full melt-the-clock-away mode in the second half.

The Mounties scored on their opening possession of the second half with Young recording a 16-yard run. Young picked up every yard on the six play drive that spanned 48 yards.

On Rogers' next possession, reserve quarterback Cole Evans hit White for a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Both Harrell and Evans completed only one pass each in the game. But they were both effective.

"A coach wiser than me at one time said, 'run to win and throw to score,'" Rogers coach Shawn Flannigan said. "When a team and a defense invests everything it has in stopping your run game, all of a sudden you pop a pass on them. And it's not only disheartening (for the defense), but it also kind of takes the wind out of your sails."

Making a late charge against Fort Gibson in the first week of the season, Tahlequah couldn't muster any sort of comeback to possibly kick-start some late theatrics.

"We were just trying to find things that work," Gilbert said of the Tigers' offensive game plan in the second half. "Coach (Gary) McClure and I were trying to figure out a few things that we could do, but we just couldn't come up with something. We just have to do a better job."

Rogers' two scores in the fourth quarter came on Zach Wary's 31-yard interception return and on Bradon Mabry's 8-yard touchdown scamper with 3:15 left.

For Tahlequah, Dustin Wiley led the Tigers with 42 yards on six rushes. Tahlequah logged 163 yards of offense.

The Tigers will hit the road in Week 3 when they head to Sallisaw.

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