ADA — The Ada Cougars' 2012 football season covered the emotional spectrum.
The resurgence of the program to win its first district title since 2005 had the community buzzing with excitement, but a player's death in a motorcycle accident in November left a lasting pain with the players through the playoffs.
“It was one of those memorable seasons, with all that happened,” said Easton Pingleton, who was selected to The Oklahoman's All-State team as a kick returner.
“We were blowing teams out, and then we had the tragedy, and we came together as a family more than a team.”
Cody Johnson, 18, was a senior lineman for the Cougars. He died as the team was preparing for its first-round playoff game.
“Cody was the best guy you'd meet,” Pingleton said. “He put a smile on everybody's face. He was just nice to everybody.”
With No. 56 decals on their helmets in honor of Johnson, the Cougars reached the semifinals, where they lost to eventual Class 4A champion Clinton.
Through the good and the bad, Pingleton was reliable at receiver, defensive back and kick returner.
Not only did he become the season and career receiving record holder for catches, yards and touchdowns, he did it with flair.
Pingleton caught six touchdown passes in the first half against Glenpool. He had 210 yards receiving against Douglass with the district title on the line.
Most of the Ada receiving records he broke had been held by longtime NFL tight end Jeremy Shockey.