MIDWEST CITY — After another disappointing end to a season, Midwest City walked off the field stunned following a 48-45 quadruple-overtime loss to Owasso on Friday at Jim Darnell Stadium.
“It's sad,” said running back James Flanders. “It just hurts. That's about all I can say.”
The way the game ended contributed to the disbelief. After Midwest City kicked a field goal to start the fourth overtime, Owasso's Scottie Prealow broke free on second down and seemed destined for a game-winning touchdown before a defender knocked the ball loose into the end zone.
But instead of a Bombers player recovering for a game-winning touchback, tight end Matt Gallagher fell on the ball to send the Rams to the semifinals.
“It's definitely the biggest play of my career,” Gallagher said. “My guy made the would-be tackle and I just found the ball. I just looked down and saw it there but I wasn't going to leave any doubt that I recovered it.”
Owasso's players sprinted onto the field to celebrate while Midwest City's, for the most part, fell in place, shocked their season had come to an end.
While Gallagher celebrated the win, it was a bit subdued. His brother, Jared, works in the Oklahoma State athletic department.
“I know it's been a rough day for him and everybody up there,” Gallagher said. “Oklahoma State people are in my thoughts.”
The Rams (9-3) advance to take on Broken Arrow next week at a neutral site to be announced. Broken Arrow beat the Rams 48-20 to start the season.
“We've grown up a lot since that game,” Gallagher said. “Our focus in the locker room before games is much different. Our demeanor — our swag as some of the guys like to say — is different. We're in a better position this time.”
With Midwest City's elimination, the east side of the state will win a 6A title for the 16th consecutive season.
The previously undefeated Bombers, ranked No. 1, led by 14 early in the fourth and missed a field goal midway through the quarter.
But Keon Hatcher's interception with 3:33 to go set up a eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended on Cole Neph's 18-yard touchdown reception on fourth and 15. The score came with just more than a minute remaining.
Midwest City drove into Rams territory but time ran out, sending the game into overtime.
The Rams had experience with tight games. They beat Norman 51-44 in five overtime in the opening round last year. They had also played several close games this season, including a 41-38 win over Tulsa Union.
“That was definitely big for us,” Hatcher said. “We were used to it and they weren't. We knew how to react.”
Flanders scored all six of Midwest City's touchdowns, including three in overtime. He finished with 55 carries for 273 yards to end his high school career.