Saturday afternoons in the late summer are usually reserved for college football, but with the sport starting a month later than usual, an old high school rivalry game took center stage.
Due to Friday night's severe weather, Ardmore's game against Elkmont was postponed to a noon Saturday start, and the Tigers put on a good show for their fans, defeating their rivals 53-12.
“It was a great experience to play a Saturday game,” Ardmore coach P.J. Wright said. “It was a college atmosphere, the way people showed up early. I know you can't tailgate at (the University of) Alabama, but we certainly haven't shut it down in Ardmore. People were setting up tents and had music going. It was a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed it.”
The Ardmore fans certainly enjoyed the first half of the game, as the Tigers raced out to a 39-0 halftime lead and coasted to the win in the second half.
Ardmore got on the board first with a 27-yard field goal by Xzander Atkins and scored its first touchdown later in the first quarter when Chris Allen scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and followed that by running in the 2-point conversion.
Ardmore put the game away in the second quarter with four touchdowns, as quarterback Owen Doss took control of the game.
Doss had two passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the quarter to extend the lead. He threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Conner Harbin early in the second quarter, and after Thomas Colston made the score 25-0 with a 22-yard touchdown run, threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Cason Hodges.
Doss closed out the quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 39-point halftime lead.
Doss finished the game with 137 rushing yards and 58 passing yards. Luke Hogan had 95 rushing yards for the Tigers, while Colston had 94 yards on the ground.
Wright said he was pleased with the way his team responded to the game being moved from Friday night to Saturday afternoon.
“Whenever you take a team out of a routine, it always sends up red flags,” Wright said. “We tried to do everything as routine as possible, but when you move the game from Friday to Saturday, it makes everything go out of whack. But the maturity of our team stood out. It was good to see them bounce back and make changes and go with it. I was very pleased with them.”
Neither team scored in the third quarter before each team put two touchdowns on the board in the final quarter.
Ardmore scored on a 53-yard touchdown run by Hogan before Elkmont got on the board with an 85-yard touchdown pass from Ty Roberts to Hunter Broadway.
But Ardmore immediately answered when Allen took the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Allen has now scored four touchdowns on the season, with only one of them being offensive. He had two interception returns for touchdown in Ardmore's 42-18 season-opening win over Tanner.
“Chris is proving to be the player I thought he was going to be,” Wright said of Allen. “He's a special one. He makes plays with the football.”
Elkmont got one final touchdown on the board with just over a minute remaining when Roberts threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Nick Chambless.
Ardmore improved to 2-0 on the season, but Wright warned his players following the game not to get too prideful. Ardmore also started 2-0 last season, but lost their final eight games to finish 2-8.
However Wright said the maturity of this year's group makes this 2-0 start much different from last year's.
“We have a lot of returning players,” he said. “We have a lot of players who played last year and had Friday night experience last year. All those players are on the field and getting the job done. We understand the mission and the goal, and that's based on their year of experience, growth and maturity.”
Both teams will open region play Friday night. Elkmont (0-2) will travel to Phil Campbell to begin Class 3A, Region 8 play, while Ardmore will host Brewer in a Class 5A, Region 8 clash.