ARDMORE — The ingredients for success have been straightforward for Ardmore this season: rush for 300 yards, take care of the football and maximize the friendly confines of Cooper Field.
The Tigers mixed together another winning batch Friday to stay in the hunt for a Class 4A, Region 7 playoff berth with a 38-14 homecoming victory over Pope John Paul II Catholic High School on a crisp and clear Friday night.
Ardmore (5-2, 3-2 Region 7) had 376 yards of total offense, including 303 rushing on 50 carries, while holding Catholic (1-5, 1-4) to 20 yards on the ground and 181 overall. The Tigers didn’t have a turnover and improved to 5-0 at home this season.
The rushing tandem of Tyler McCarley and Zach Ellis continued to be effective for Ardmore as McCarley, who also snagged an interception, scored three touchdowns in the first half and finished with 148 yards on 25 carries, while Ellis broke loose for 115 yards on 14 attempts and a 35-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers led 6-0 midway through the first quarter after a 4-yard McCarley run, but the Falcons responded with a 24-yard quarterback keeper by Drew Koubek and a Ryan Soprano extra point to lead 7-6.
McCarley’s 7-yard TD and 2-point conversion run allowed Ardmore to claim a 14-7 lead heading into the second period. McCarley scored again from the Falcons’ 2-yard line and Hayden Durrett caught the 2-point conversion pass from Garret Miller to lead 22-7 at halftime.
Ardmore outscored Catholic 16-7 in the third quarter, but neither team lit up the scoreboard in the final quarter. Miller fired a 4-yard scoring pass to Durrett and McCarley ran in the 2-point conversion, but the Falcons answered with an 18-yard scoring pass from Koubek to Mitchell Anderson and a Soprano PAT to cut the gap to 30-14.
The Tigers put the game out of reach at 38-14 when Ellis scored from the Catholic 35 and Miller tossed a 2-point pass to Chris Welling.
Miller finished 5-of-6 passing for 73 yards with no interceptions and one touchdown, and he also had an interception at his starting safety position. Creagan Lewter had one sack, and Durrett finished with two receptions for 23 yards and a TD.
Next Friday in region play, Ardmore takes on star running back Jordan Chunn and the eighth-ranked Madison County Tigers, while Pope John Paul II hosts DAR.