By Justin Graves
ARDMORE – Things can change fast in a year’s time. Last season Ardmore suffered one of the worst seasons in the program’s history with an 0-10 finish. Friday night the Tigers looked like a potential playoff contender in their 42-21 win over Elkmont.
“It feels good to get off to a good start,” new Ardmore coach Tracy Malone said. “It’s huge to start of the season with a big win over your biggest rival. These kids deserve it.”
Ardmore took care of business early. The Tigers scored 27 unanswered points in the first quarter, all four touchdowns by star running back Derreck Green. Green finished the night with 214-yards rushing – 191-yards in the first half – on 12 carries and four touchdowns.
“No. 1 (Green) is a bad man,” Malone said. “He did a great job for us. Our offensive line did a good job blocking and Derreck did a good job running behind them.”
On the first series of the game, Jarrod Mullins recovered an Elkmont fumble on the 45-yard line. Four plays later Green scored on a 6-yard run between the tackles. Landon Curtis missed the extra point, giving Ardmore a 6-0 lead.
“We were able to capitalize on their mistakes,” Malone said. “That was huge for us.”
On the ensuing series, Mullins recovered another Elkmont fumble and carried it 16-yards for a touchdown. Curtis’ extra point was good.
“We had way too many turnovers,” Elkmont coach Chad McGehee said. “We turned the ball over six times and you can’t do that and beat a good team.”
Green capped off a three-play drive with a 68-yard touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. Curtis’ extra point was good.
“Our offensive line did a great job,” Green said. “We wanted to come out and set the tone and I think we were able to do that. It feels good to be able to come back and get off to a good start like this.”
On the next play, Duron Robison intercepted Elkmont quarterback Jonathan Carter on the Red Devils’ 35-yard line. Two plays later Green took the ball 62-yards around the right end for a touchdown. Curtis’ extra point was good.
“Our defense really came up big for us tonight,” Robison said. “We came up with some big plays and created several turnovers. It feels really good to get off to a good start like this.”
Ardmore turned the pressure up in the second quarter when Green capped off a 70-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown. Elijah Barnes hit Drew Cagle in the back of the endzone for the two-point conversion, giving Ardmore 35-0 lead with 8:59 left in the second quarter.
“Our guys didn’t let up when we got a lead,” Malone said. “They put the petal down and turned up the pressure.”
Elkmont got on the board late in the first half when Matthew Compton scored on a 10-yard run. John Schrimsher made the extra point to cut the lead to 35-7.
“We couldn’t ever get anything going offensively,” McGehee said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids and we knew it was going to experience somewhat of a learning curve. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Elkmont only had 110-yards of offense in the first half – 39- yards on the ground. The Red Devils finished the night with 288-yards of total offense.
Elkmont showed some signs of life late in the game when Josh McWilliiams scored two Elkmont touchdowns late in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve got to take this game and learn from it,” McGehee said. “It’s important for these young guys to bounce back from a loss like this.”
Both teams open region play next week. Elkmont travels to county rival Clements while Ardmore travels to East Lawrence.
By Justin Graves
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