NOBLE — Noble needed to win Friday night to keep its 5A playoff hopes alive. That knowledge weighed heavily on the minds of its coaches and players.
Led by senior running back Jimmy Wood, the Bears handled Durant 30-12 on Senior Night at Noble Stadium to improve to 5-4, 3-3 in District 5A-3. Noble's final game against Shawnee will decide who earns the fourth and final playoff spot in the district.
“I owe a lot of credit to this group of seniors,” Noble coach Steve Barrett said. “They've continued to keep their hopes up and keep working hard, and it's paid off.”
Durant (1-9, 1-6) scored twice in the first quarter, but the Bears held the Lions scoreless for the next three quarters.
Wood gathered over 100 total yards in the first half and rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown to give Noble a 14-12 advantage at halftime. The fleet-footed halfback finished the game with 146 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
“I had a pretty good game, not one of my best, but it got the job done,” Wood said.
Noble quarterback Dakota Boxwell completed 9 of 17 passes for 186 yards, including a 40-yard dart to Wood. He credited Noble's blocking for his performance.
“It's all about the lineman,” Boxwell said.
Noble needs just one more win to reach the playoffs, but Boxwell wasn't thinking of what playing postseason football would mean to him. He was thinking of what it would mean to his community.
“It's been several years since Noble's been in the playoffs, and we just want to do it for the crowd, for everybody,” Boxwell said. “They put a lot of effort into this and we just want to do it mostly for them.”