KINGFISHER — Kingfisher buried Stigler under the weight of so many defensive plays and Landon Nault runs.
Top-ranked Kingfisher remained unbeaten by ousting Stigler 41-12 on Friday at Kingfisher Field. Kingfisher (13-0) moved into the Class 3A semifinals, while Stigler ended its season 10-3. Kingfisher rallied from a 12-7 deficit with 34 unanswered points.
Cade Shearwood of Stigler started off the second half tearing off a cross-country, 52-yard run, but Kingfisher followed with big plays of its own on defense. Stigler's drive stalled at the Kingfisher 28-yard line as Shearwood's pass went incomplete on fourth down.
Kingfisher took a 20-12 advantage on its ensuing drive. Grant Newton finished off a 13-play, 72-yard possession by scoring from 5 yards out with 5:44 to go in the third quarter.
“I'm happy to be in the semifinals,” Kingfisher coach Jeff Myers said. “At the big play to start the second half, we could have folded and let them score, but we stiffened up. We took it and scored. That was big.”
Stigler had presented a challenge early. Stigler led 12-7 after Seth Sandlin's 29-yard touchdown run with 9:21 left in the second quarter. Shearwood threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Ryan Echelle as Stigler led 6-0 at the 4:47 mark of the first.
“I was happy with our first couple of drives,” Stigler coach Chris Risenhoover said. “Everybody knows Kingfisher has an outstanding defense.”
Kingfisher seized the lead for good 13-12 lead with 2:24 left in the first half as Newton nudged across the end zone on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Newton directed the Yellow Jackets on a 16-play, 67-yard drive consuming nearly seven minutes off the clock.
“Our kids had to make an adjustment,” Myers said. “They have good team speed and hit us in the mouth. I'm proud of our kids. We knew it would come down to our offensive and defensive lines. We had missed assignments the first half. Landon took over.”
Landon Nault dove, juked and scooted for 225 rushing yards on 32 carries to propel Kingfisher. Nault's 56-yard jaunt late in the first half made for his longest run of the game and put him over 100 yards. The Yellow Jackets piled up 367 yards along the ground on 50 attempts.
Nick Smith added 88 yards and three TD runs, while Newton chipped in 54 yards and three TD rushes. When Nault wasn't carrying the ball, he would block for his teammates. Kingfisher outgained Stigler 448-309 and produced 22 first downs to 13 for Stigler.
Stigler's season ended with its finest playoff push since 1965.
“We've broken the egg and got to the third round,” Risenhoover said. “We'll take this season and be thankful for it. I'm ecstatic about it. I know how difficult it is to get to this point. With the injuries and the kids we lost, we had to play well the first two rounds, and we did.”