The Duncan Banner
On a humid Friday night in Blanchard, the reigning 3A state champions rocked Marlow football 43-14.
Despite numerous chances to climb back in the game, the Outlaws (4-2, 1-2) failed to put pressure on Blanchard (6-0, 3-0). The game started off well for the visitors as Marlow drove down the field, thanks in large part to a 32-yard completion by quarterback Braeden O’Dell to receiver Nick Yates. Failing on fourth down and eight deep in opponents territory, though, was not what the doctor ordered.
After stopping Blanchard on its first drive, Marlow again drove into opponents territory but fumbled it away. This proved to be enough incentive for Blanchard to start producing on offense, as it scored a touchdown with its next three drives. Going into the lockerroom down 26-0, Marlow knew the game had gotten out of hand.
“That first (drive) was pretty tough,” running back Trey Coffman said after the game. “It would have been real nice to have (some points on those first two drives).”
In the second half, Marlow came out determined to make it a game. O’Dell, who threw six straight incompletions after that first long pass to Yates, settled down and looked like the biggest threat against Blanchard’s defense. It helped the Outlaws that the Lions best corner, Braden Bush, was having issues with the heat. He was constantly limping or falling down due to cramps. This propelled O’Dell to completing 5 of 10 in the second half, but it still wasn’t enough.
“He threw the ball well,” coach Rob Renshaw said. “They were big and physical. They got us up front some. We’re just going to get better.”
With 6:54 left in the third quarter, Marlow got its first touchdown on a 75-yard kickoff return by Kagan Blackburn. Special teams had been an issue for Blanchard all night, and while the two blocked extra points didn’t hurt it, the long touchdown return took some wind out of its sails.
“I had some great blocks on it,” Blackburn said. “I couldn’t have done it without it. They set up the way just perfect, led me straight to the hole.”
Then came stopping Braden Stringer, which proved a chore to final whistle. Stringer pounded Marlow for 404 rushing yards. He had six runs for more than 20 yards, including an 84-yard scamper to solidify the final score. Making the one-on-one tackles proved the problem for Renshaw’s team.
“He’s a good back, and we made him look great,” Renshaw said. “We didn’t tackle very well.”
Going into the game, Renshaw put the emphasis on forcing Blanchard’s qaurterback Blake Owen to throw the ball, and he got his wish. The problem was Owen was up to the challenger completing all five of his passes in the first half for 71 yards. For a quarterback who averages around 45 yards passing per game, that early success provided a lot of confidence to the Blanchard sideline.
Still, down almost four scores at hallftime, the Outlaws could have packed it in. The way they came out and tried to make a game of it in the second half impressed Renshaw.
“We battled in the second half,” Renshaw said. “I’m proud of everybody. All of our guys battled their butts off. It wasn’t just one guy. We just have to get off the bus ready to play.”
That sentiment is even more important when the team plays Tuttle this Thursday at home. The Tigers (5-1, 2-0) won its first two division games by a combined score of 105 to 0.