WEATHERFORD — Laverne had the brains and the brawn Saturday night in the Class B state championship football game. After accepting the academic state title trophy in a pregame ceremony, the Tigers went on to whip Pond Creek-Hunter 50-19 for the gold ball before an estimated 4,000 fans at Fast Lane Field on the Southwestern Oklahoma State University campus.
Laverne finished the season 14-0 while winning the school's first state football championship. The Tigers beat Pond Creek-Hunter (12-2) for the second time in a month; the teams finished the District B-1 portion of the season on Nov. 2, with Laverne winning that matchup 36-18.
Pond Creek-Hunter kept the title game close for a half on Championship Saturday, but the jawbreakers were a pair of Tucker Rolf touchdown runs 3:17 apart early in the third quarter. The score quickly went from a 14-7 Laverne lead to 30-7. The Tigers added two more touchdowns on their next two possessions, also in the third quarter, and in a blink, a close state championship ballgame turned into a bust from Pond Creek-Hunter's point of view.
“We're going to miss those seniors,” Rolf, a junior quarterback, said of his linemen. “All of them made great blocks tonight. Once they did that, I just kept running.”
Rolf was just one of the stars out of the Laverne backfield. He finished with 157 of the Tigers' 479 total rushing yards. Junior tailback Trevor Harris added 162 yards and two touchdowns, and fullback Dalton Birch, just a sophomore, had 159 yards and three touchdowns. Laverne finished the game with 513 total yards.
“I'm so proud of everyone on this team,” Laverne coach Tim Allen said after accepting the gold ball from an Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association representative. “We've known this bunch was special since the fifth grade. What they did tonight was finish. They finished the job that they dreamed about since then.”
Laverne dominated the first half yards-wise — 230-92 — but it only led 14-7 at the break. Pond Creek-Hunter struck quickly when sophomore Harley Comeau ripped down the sideline for an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
The momentum carried over briefly as the Panthers' defense threw Harris for minus-9 yards on his first-two carries. But it didn't last. Harris sliced through the defense on his third carry for a 47-yard TD run; Rolf added a two-point conversion run, and the Tigers took the lead for good, 8-7 with 8:16 left in the first quarter.
Laverne added a TD just under three minutes later, when the bruising Birch popped through the middle and showed excellent speed for a 65-yard run.
The Tigers had a chance for more, reaching the Pond Creek-Hunter 1 with 11:12 left in the first half. But on fourth-and-goal, Rolf tried to find a hole behind the left guard but was stopped a half-yard shy of the end zone.
Rolf said Allen told the Laverne crew at halftime “not to let up. Keep going hard. No doubt, those two (quick) touchdowns made a difference.”
Rolf set the tone on the first play of the third quarter. He rolled right and breezed down the sideline, in front of the Laverne side of the stadium, for a 70-yard TD run.
“The line kept blocking, and I kept running,” Rolf said.