The Duncan Banner
Solid, steady, opportunistic Marlow stayed unbeaten here Friday, doing whatever it took, whenever it was necessary to defeat Sulphur and earn a hard-fought, nerve-racking 15-6 decision that wasn’t certain until the game’s final play.
Playing in Outlaw Stadium for the first time this year on a chilly, 64-degree night made for football, Marlow scored on its first possession, added a second touchdown late in the second quarter and then hung on for dear life in upping its perfect record to 3-0.
“It was a great team effort,” Outlaw coach Rob Renshaw said after telling his team, “We’re going to enjoy this sucker a while.”
The Outlaws marched 45 yards in 10 plays, all on the ground, in a statement drive early, relying on durable Trey Coffman and shifty Braeden O’Dell for the yardage and the points with Coffman scoring from the two and adding the point-after kick with 4:38 left in the opening period.
Three bad snaps hampered Sulphur attempts to launch a consistent offense or create any momentum and when O’Dell one-handedly intercepted a Ryan Rackley pass, the stage was set for what appeared an impressive drive and second TD.
It covered 96 yards and 12 plays with O’Dell slithering through heavy traffic for the final 26 yards and a score that was nullified by an illegal shift penalty. The Outlaws couldn’t overcome the penalty but another bad Bulldog exchange added a late opportunity Marlow turned into points.
Regaining possession with time running out, Coffman and O’Dell handled the 31-yard distance in six plays, capped by Coffman’s bullish scoring dive with 12 seconds left in the half. Coffman’s kick was wide left, but Marlow seemed in control anyway.
That changed in the second half as Sulphur found its passing game.
Keagan Davidson intercepted an O’Dell pass near the end of the third quarter and it took just two plays for the Bulldogs to score, closing the gap and creating anxious Outlaw moments.
Rackley hit a sliding Tanner Watson with a 23-yarder across the middle, then dodged defenders on an 18-yard run for the TD just seconds into the fourth quarter. He missed the point-after kick, but Sulphur seemed back in business and looking for a closing rally.
Twice the Bulldogs stopped Marlow and each time threatened. A fourth down pass failed at the 18, killing one drive with 5:30 showing and a pass interference call against the Outlaws extended another attempt with 1:39 left. But Tanner Britton recovered a fumble to halt that threat to the joy of screaming supporters and, in essence, seal the victory.
“I thought about running with it,” the 255-pound Britton admitted, “but I decided I better fall down instead. I didn’t want to mess anything up.”
Three running plays produced eight yards. O’Dell punted dead to the three, but another Sulphur bad snap sailed out of the end zone on what proved to be the game’s final play, adding a safety to Marlow’s final margin.
“We beat a good football team,” Renshaw said after a few hugs and high fives. “What an effort! We bowed up in the fourth quarter when you have to win football games and I’m proud of our players and our coaches for that.
“I was especially proud of the way we handled the ups and downs of the game. We overcame some adversity in the second half and I see us coming together as a nice team now.”
Coffman and O’Dell grabbed the spotlight again, but Renshaw credited the win to “our conditioning” and “our entire team.”
Coffman rushed 30 times for 129 yards and handled the ball most when clutch runs were needed. O’Dell added 53 yards on 13 carries and completed three of six passes for 37 yards with one interception, playing more like a veteran than the sophomore he is. Coffman had two catches for 23 yards, Logan Knox one for 12.
Rackley was the Bulldog workhorse. He carried the ball 23 times but netted just 13 yards because of the bad snaps. He hit 14 of 22 passes for 176 yards with one interception.
Nick Magruder had six Bulldog catches for 89 yards, Tanner Watson five for 45.
Marlow opens district play Friday at Jones, 0-3 after losses to Perkins-Tryon, Hennessey and Oklahoma Christian. It returns home Oct. 4 for a game with Mt. Saint Mary. Sulphur visits Lone Grove Friday.