TULSA -- The Ponca City Wildcats picked up their first win of the season Friday night defeating the Tulsa McLain Titans 23-22.
As the score would indicate the win didn’t come easily. The outcome was never certain until Tyson Dewberry intercepted a McLain pass with 45 seconds remaining in the contest. After that it was just a matter of taking a knee twice to run the clock out.
Dewberry’s interception capped off a big night for the junior defensive back. The game-deciding pick was his third of the game. Another Wildcat who had a big contest was sophomore running back Cameron Jackson, who toted the ball for approximately 200 yards.
McLain scored three touchdowns all on big plays. A 74-yard run was the first Titan TD, the second was a 78-yard pass play and the third was on an interception that was returned 85 yards.
On the other side, Ponca City had to work for its scores. Lane Scholey scored the first Wildcat touchdown on a five-yard carry, Jackson scored the second on a six-yard run and Elijah Phillips scored the third on a four-yard carry. Add to those a 28-yard field goal and two extra point kicks by Spencer Ball.
McLain took the opening kickoff and had a drive going until Dewberry came up with his first interception,. Ponca City took over on its own 19 yard line and moved the ball 81 yards on 14 plays. Scholey scored the first touchdown of the game on the first play of the second quarter. Ball added the kick and Ponca City had a 7-0 lead.
That lead didn’t hold up very long as McLain came back to score on the second play after the Wildcat touchdown. Quarterback Jay Porter hit receiver Nkosi Logan with a pass and Logan went 74 yards for a touchdown. The Titans went for two points after each of their touchdowns and the first try was successful giving them an 8-7 lead.
The Wildcats scored next after taking possession of the ball after a McLain fumble. Phillips was the one who covered the loose ball giving Ponca City possession at the McLain 27. Scholey ran on the first two plays of the possession and Jackson capped off the short drive with his six-yard touchdown. Ball’s kick made the score 14-8.
Ponca City got the ball back three plays later as Dewberry came up with his second interception. The Wildcats had the ball on their own 44 with 5:12 left in the half. Jackson carried the ball on the first four plays picking up 37 of the necessary yards. Then Phillips, normally a linebacker on defense, was inserted as a running back to take advantage of his 240-pound body. He ran the ball a couple of times, but a holding penalty and a quarterback sack forced the Wildcats to attempt a field goal. Ball connected on his 28-yarder with 20.7 seconds remaining in the half. The intermission came with Ponca City leading 17-8. Ponca City mounted a decent
drive to start the second half, but after 12 plays it bogged down and Ball attempted a 45-yard field goal. It was just a tad short leaving the score at 17-8.
Near the end of the third quarter, Phillips made a big run, breaking through the McLaindefense, but then losing control on the ball and fumbling after a 35-yard gain deep into McLain territory. The Titans recovered and took over at the eight. After a few plays advancing the ball to the 25, McLain scored on a 75-yard bomb from Porter to T. J. Orr. Again McLain went for two and it was a successful effort. The Ponca City lead was just one point at 17-16.
With 8:30 left in the game, Ponca City had the ball in Titan territory when Orr picked off a Wildcat pass and ran uncontested to score an 85-yard touchdown. This time the Wildcats were able to thwart the twopoint effort, which made a huge difference as the game turned out. McLain had its first lead of the game at 22-17.
Ponca City responded with a 60-yard drive in seven plays. Phillips eventually scored on a four-yard carry. Electing to go for two points, the Wildcats attempt was stopped and their lead was one 23-22.
McLain seemed determined to take the lead back with decent gains on the first six plays from scrimmage. But then Orr fell on a fumble after an eight-yard loss and on the next play Dewberry worked his interception magic, ending the McLain threat and virtually assuring the Wildcats of their first victory.
The loss dropped McLain to 1-2 on the season, the lone win coming over Tulsa Central. Last week the Titans lost to Tahlequah 27-2. Ponca City is now 1-1 after losing a 19-17 heartbreaker to Enid a week ago. Next week’s scheduled game with Ardmore was cancelled by Ardmore due to a team quarantine. No replacement had been secured by Friday.