Very seldom in the history of this rivalry has a game lived up to expectations especially in terms of being a close game. But, the 60th edition of the series between Ryan and Waurika did not disappoint in living up to expectations as Ryan came away with a 44-36 double overtime victory last Friday night at Bob Givens Sports Complex.
Both teams return to action tonight (Thursday) with Ryan traveling to Bray-Doyle and Waurika hosting Central High in another big game for the Eagles.
Ryan moved to 5-2 on the year and 2-0 in district play, while Waurika dropped to 3-4 and 1-1 in district competition.
The contest last Friday was one where both teams put forth supreme effort with Waurika jumping out to a big advantage and Ryan coming back in the second half to even the score and send the game into overtime.
The fast-pace Waurika offense gave the Cowboys problems most of the night, but several costly miscues running the offense led to failed two-point conversions and loss of yards at crucial times.
The Cowboys overcame four turnovers that helped the Eagles get out to a three touchdown lead in the first half.
The Cowboys had to drive 69 yards with no timeouts and only 1:14 showing on the clock to tie the score in the fourth quarter. But exactly one minute later the Cowboys got the game-tying score.
Earlier in the game every time the Cowboys made a charge, the Eagles answered with a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.
Ryan got off to a good start after a Waurika onside kick recovered by the Cowboys gave them excellent field position.
It took the Cowboys 12 plays to drive 53 yards as Grayson Tomberlin scored from two yards out to cap the drive. The two-point conversion failed, but Ryan held a 6-0 advantage with 6:07 left in the first quarter.
The Eagles immediately answered.
Waurika took possession of the kickoff at their own 24 and drove 76 yards in just eight plays.
Quarterback Aaron Nitka found Seth Cathey for a 24-yard pass and catch for the score. The two-point conversion failed leaving the score knotted at 6-6 with 4:02 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff the Cowboys misplayed the ball and also were penalized for holding sending the Cowboys back to their own eight-yard line to start the drive.
A key third-down conversion on G. Tomberlin’s pass to Wesley Clark got the Cowboys out of the shadow of their end zone, but a fumbled snap at their own 47 yard line that was recovered by Waurika’s Scott Showalter ending the Cowboys’ hopes of regaining the lead.
The Eagles did not waste much time in taking advantage of the turnover.
Waurika drove 43 yards in eight plays – overcoming two holding penalties – to get the go-ahead score.
Kevin Garcia covered the final eight yards on the ground to put Waurika up, 12-6, with 11:13 left in the second quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
The Cowboys’ next possession also ended in a turnover. Garcia picked off an errant Cowboy pass and returned it 24 yards to give Waurika the ball at the Ryan 40 yard line.
Waurika scored in seven plays – overcoming another holding penalty and a sack. Aaron Nitka found Colton Bryant for a 37-yard touchdown pass to give Waurika an 18-6 lead with 3:28 left before the half.
The Eagles attempted another onside kick, but it was recovered by the Cowboys’ Kalen Weldon.
However, on Ryan’s first play – a pass completion to Weldon – was fumbled and the Eagle defender fought off Weldon for the ball to set Waurika up again with a short field.
On the first play after the turnover, Nitka found Hunter Wesberry wide open for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 3:12 still left before the half. The two-point conversion once again failed, but Waurika held a commanding 24-6 lead.
Weldon recovered yet another Waurika onside kickoff attempt giving the Cowboys excellent field position at the Ryan 42-yard line. Another third down completion, a 16-yard run and a Waurika personal foul penalty helped the Cowboys move to the Waurika seven.
G. Tomberlin capped the 58-yard drive with a seven-yard scamper for the score diving into the right corner of the end zone with just 30 seconds left in the half. The Cowboys tried a halfback pass for the two-point conversion, but the receiver ran the wrong way and the pass fell incomplete
However, the Cowboys had narrowed the gap to 24-12 heading into intermission.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Eagles moved from their own eight to the Waurika 42 before the drive stalled. On fourth down the Eagles faked a punt, but the pass from Turner Mora to Cathey was stopped for no gain giving Ryan the ball.
In just four plays the Cowboys drove the distance with G. Tomberlin finishing off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown run. The two point conversion failed, but with 7:34 left in the third quarter Ryan had narrowed the score to 24-18.
The Eagles’ next drive ended at the Ryan 24 when a fourth-down play was stopped by the Cowboy defense after an errant snap from scrimmage by the Eagles.
The Cowboys could not take advantage as Cathey recovered another Ryan fumble at the Ryan 48 to give Waurika an opportunity to increase the lead.
The Eagles did exactly that.
In just five plays – aided by a Ryan personal foul penalty – Waurika went the distance for the score. Cathey capped the drive with a one-yard run.
On the two-point conversion the Eagles completed a pass, but the receiver was ruled to be ineligible and on the second try, the Eagles’ rushing attempt was thwarted leaving the score at 30-18 with 1:27 left in the third quarter.
The Cowboys took possession at the Cowboy 25 after the kickoff return and were able to drive 75 yards in eight plays. G. Tomberlin found River Williams for a 29-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed again, but Ryan had narrowed the gap to 36-30 with 7:16 left in the game.
Waurika set up its next possession at the Eagle 48 following a 28-yard kickoff return by Mora. The Eagles were able to drive to the Ryan 37, but on fourth down, G. Tomberlin intercepted a pass and the Cowboys took over.
After two incomplete passes and a bad snap that resulted in a 17-yard loss, the Cowboys were forced to punt and Waurika took over with only 5:12 left in the game.
The Eagles were able to drive to the Ryan 16, but a penalty and two plays that resulted in losses of 10 yards put the Eagles in a fourth-and-23 situation.
The fourth down pass fell incomplete giving Ryan the ball at the Cowboys’ 31-yard line with 1:14 left.
This is where G. Tomberlin went to work for the tying score. A key fourth down pass to Williams resulted in a first down at the Waurika 47.
On first down, G. Tomberlin found his brother Dawson and the Cowboy back caught the pass and rambled 32 yards before being brought down at the Waurika 15.
G. Tomberlin spiked the ball on first down leaving the Cowboys with 26 seconds to try to tie the game.
A second down pass fell incomplete with 21 seconds left setting up a third down.
G. Tomberlin was able to find Skyler Parkhill in the back of the end zone for a 15-yard scoring pass that tied the score with 14 seconds left.
The quarterback sneak on the two-point conversion was stopped just short of the goal line to deprive the Cowboys of the win in regulation.
In the first overtime period, the Eagles took possession first and lost five yards on first down. A second-down pass fell incomplete and after a third down play resulted in a penalty pushing the Eagles back to the Ryan 20.
The third down pass was incomplete as Nitka was under heavy pressure. The fourth down pass was intercepted by Williams to end Waurika’s first overtime possession.
The Cowboys’ first two plays from scrimmage resulted in six yards to the Ryan 4, but a third down pitch was errant causing D. Tomberlin to lose his balance resulting in a three-yard loss.
A fourth down pass fell incomplete ending the first overtime.
The Cowboys got the ball first in the second overtime and G. Tomberlin covered the 10 yards on the first play from scrimmage with a run right up the middle for the score. The two-point conversion-pass from G. Tomberlin to D. Tomberlin was good to put the Cowboys in front, 44-36.
Waurika threatened to score in its possession as a first down play resulted in a six-yard gain by Cathey. Nitka’s lateral to Mora resulted in three yards with the Cowboys making the stop at the one.
A third-down rush resulted in a loss of two yards and on fourth and three, the Eagles fumbled the snap and the ball rolled around before being recovered at the Ryan seven.
That sent the Cowboy bench and the home crowd into a frenzied celebration.
Nitka was outstanding at quarterback for the Eagles as he was able to pick apart the Cowboys’ secondary – especially in the first half. Nitka finished the night with 21 of 36 for 349 yards and three touchdowns.
Cathey, the outstanding senior tight end for the Eagles, finished with nine catches for 119 yards and one touchdown. He also added a touchdown on the ground.
G. Tomberlin, the Cowboys’ freshman signal-caller, finished the night with 99 yards rushing on 21 attempts and four touchdowns. He connected on 10 of his 19 attempts for 224 yards and three touchdowns giving him a hand in every Ryan touchdown.
HIGHWAY 81 RIVALRY MUSINGS: The 362 yards passing by the Eagles is the second most ever by a Ryan opponent….The 44 points scored by the Cowboys ties the mark for most points scored in the series with the Eagles….Both teams had over 400 total yards of offense – 465 for Waurika and 403 for Ryan….The Eagles had only four runs of 10 yards or more in 39 attempts, while Ryan was not much better with six runs of 10 or more yards in 21 attempts…The 224 yards passing by the Cowboys was the eighth most in school history….The 224 yards passing by G. Tomberlin is also the eighth best mark in school history….Waurika still leads the series with the Cowboys, 40-17-3….The eight-man meetings have resulted in each team having three wins….This was the first time in 60 meetings a game has gone into overtime since the rule was instituted in 1975…The overtime game for Ryan was the first for the Cowboys since 2007, while Waurika’s last extra-period game was in 2010…This game was one of only three games across Oklahoma that went into overtime last week…The 36 points scored by Waurika is the third most points scored in a losing cause in school history behind the 54 points scored last year against Seiling and the 39 points scored against Ringling in 1980…The Eagles also scored 36 in a loss to Cyril in 2013…Waurika converted Ryan’s first three turnovers into scores in building a 24-6 advantage in the first half of the game…The Eagles also scored after Ryan’s fourth turnover….The win by the Cowboys breaks a three-game winning streak by Waurika in this series….A large crowd witnessed this thriller – possibly as many as 800 fans were at the game.