Altus High running back Diquon Woodhouse fights for yardage in the Bulldogs game with Lawton MacArthur while linebacker Keilan Torres tackles Mac running back Darrius Graham.
A second half come back came up short for the Altus High Bulldogs in their game with Lawton MacArthur here on Friday night. The Highlanders held off the Bulldogs and added a pair of touchdowns late to break open the game and earn 37-13 victory.
The Bulldogs found themselves down 23-0 in the second half before they mounted that come back.
Their first touchdown came on a 72-yard drive but it was a score that almost didn’t happen. On a fourth and 12 call from the Highlanders 36-yard line, quarterback Brantley Ford dropped back and threw down field to wide receiver Cameron Loving. The ball was deflected by a MacArthur defender and it fell into Loving’s hands for a Bulldog first down at the Highlander 19. Two plays later Ford rolled right and threw to freshman running back Taven Birdow. Birdow gathered the pass, broke a tackle and raced into the end zone for a 17-yard scoring play. A Michael Perez extra point made it 23-7 with 3:40 remaining in the third period.
It was three and out for MacArthur after they were assessed three consecutive illegal procedure penalties.
Altus got the ball back at the Highlanders’ 44 and it took the Bulldogs four plays to find the end zone but this time it was strictly on the ground. It included a 22-yard run by Diquon Woodhouse which gave Altus a first down at the 15. Birdow then found a huge hole on the left side and rambled into the end zone for the score.
It was typical play in which the Bulldogs had success running the ball right at the Mac defense, something that Stone wasn’t counting on.
“I was surprised how well we ran the ball up the gut on them, “Stone said. “That’s a testament to the guys up from and the way Taven and Diquon blocked for each other.”
But that was as close as it would get. The Bulldogs did get the ball back but they couldn’t muster a drive. Twice Stone went for fourth downs deep in Altus territory only to fall short on those tries. That led to the final two MacArthur touchdowns.
Stone said he wasn’t concerned about the final score.
There’s seven minutes left and we’re two scores down,” Stone said. “I didn’t come here to play Mac close. I came here to beat them and that what our kids wanted.”
Altus missed a pair of chances to score early in the game. Linebacker Cedrick Jamison recovered a fumble on Mac’s first possession at the Highlanders’ 21-yard line. But two big losses halted that chance.
The second time the Bulldogs got the ball at the MacArthur 39-yard line after forcing the Highlanders to go three and out. But Altus couldn’t capitalize as a 42-yard field goal attempt by Michael Perez was blocked.
Stone said, “I would have liked to have those series back. We played well for most of the first quarter. I told them (the players) at halftime that we went toe-to-toe with them and we’re in this game.”
Defensively Altus made some big plays, besides Jamison’s fumble recovery, Woodhouse also recovered a Mac fumble and sophomore defensive back Tanner Cross intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart a Highlander drive.
The special teams also came up with a big play in the second half.
Facing a fourth and nine situation from the Bulldogs’ 39, Perez was in deep punt formation. He took the snap, saw an opening on the right side and scampered 10 yards for a first down.
“I would like to say that it was my and coach Lamb’s (assistant coach Jonathan’s Lamb) call but Michael saw an opening and took off. My heart skipped three beats and a fourth beat when he was a yard short and made the cut to pick up the first down. Michael is a 4.7 guy (in the 40 run), he’s a good athlete and a special person.”
Graham had a big night rushing for 180 yards on 19 carries with four touchdowns. Woodhouse led Altus with 89 yards on 17 carries.
The loss didn’t really hurt the Bulldogs playoff chances. If the Bulldogs had beaten Mac and followed that up with wins over Ardmore and Oklahoma City Capitol Hill it would probably created a tie for the second, third and fourth playoff spots with MacArthur and Duncan. Altus is in poor shape in the points tiebreaker system; they would probably had finished fourth.
A win over Ardmore next week and against Capitol Hill in the final game should give Altus that fourth place spot.
Stone, earlier in the week, asked for the fans to create more noise at the game. Stone gave that crowd good marks. “They were loud, I take my hat off to them.”
Game In Figures
yds passing95 124
How They Scored
Mac - Darrius Graham 1 run, Chris Pauley kick, 11:15, 2nd qtr., MHS 7-0
Mac - Graham 2 run (Graham run), 8:10, 2nd qtr., MHS 15-0
Mac - Graham 9 run (Graham run), 7:45, 3rd qtr., MHS 23-0
Altus - Taven Birdow 17 pass from Brantley Ford, Michael Perez kick, 3:40 , 3rd qtr., MHS 23-7
Altus - Birdow 15 run (run failed), 0:56, 3rd qtr., MHS, 23-13
Mac - Larry rees 33 pass from Collins, 6:19, 4th qtr., MHS 30-13
Mac - Graham 5 run, Pauley kick, 3:43, 4th qtr., MHS, 37-13
Ford 12-(-53); Woodhouse 16-89; Birdow 11-70 1TD; Perez 1-11
Ford 12-30-84 TD
Woodhouse 1-3, Maldonado 5-21; Torres 2-8; Loving 3-30; Birdow 2-33 1TD
Perez 1-1 PAT 0-1 fg 42 yards
Fumble recoveries -Jamison, Woodhouse
Interceptions - Cross
Collins 8-23; Graham 30-170 4TDs
Passing Collins 12-18-119 1 TD 1Int; Rosario 0-1; Arter 1-1-5
McKnight 2-37; Gaines 4-12; Graham 2-15; Rosario 2-17; Reese 1-33 1TD
Pauley 2-2 PATs
Fumble recoveries - Laboy, Fritts