Carl Albert quarterback Stevie Thompson doesn't see a finished product yet.
The senior accounted for three touchdowns leading the top-ranked Titans past No. 10 McGuinness 35-21 at Clement Pribil Stadium on Friday, but still feels there is room for improvement from the defending state champions.
“We're happy where we're at, but we've still got to keep working,” Thompson said.
The win, though, propels Carl Albert to a 4-1 record and 2-0 start to District 5A-2 play, which is the exact opposite of last season's start.
And the Titans have won in a different fashion each of the past two games.
In last week's win against defending district champion Deer Creek, it was an overpowering rushing attack.
Friday night, the Titans came up with multiple big plays to hold off the Irish, which is now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in district play.
“We didn't sustain much, but our big-play guys came through,” Carl Albert coach Gary Rose said. “I'd rather grind it and run the clock, but when you make big plays we'll take them, too.”
Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, Carl Albert running back Chantz Woodberry broke loose on a counter for a 71-yard touchdown.
On the next possession, Thompson threw a short pass to Isaiah Shawver, who turned it into a 75-yard touchdown and 14-7 lead.
The Titans then turned the Irish's following possession into points when Malik Muhammad returned Jacob Lewis' fumble 47 yards for a touchdown.
“When I got it, I think it changed the whole momentum of the game drastically,” Muhammad said. “We had a slow start to the game, and when I got that, I think it lifted everybody's spirits.”
From there, McGuinness was forced to play catch-up.
The Irish got within a touchdown in the third quarter, but Thompson broke loose from a tackle in the backfield for a 33-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.
McGuinness again tried to rally, but Lewis fumbled on the goal line with 2:14 remaining to seal the game.
Lewis finished with 236 yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns, but it was the fumbles that stand out.
Irish coach Justin Jones, though, doesn't necessarily believe that.
“I'm not going to say turnovers were a difference in that game,” he said. “Turnovers are a part of football. The difference in the game was about five plays.”
Thompson, meanwhile, finished with 153 yards on the ground and 102 through the air, while Woodberry finished with 106 yards and nine carries.
After the game, the Titans' attention was already turned to next week when they host No. 2 Guthrie in the annual rivalry game.
It'll conclude the toughest stretch of the regular season for the Titans, too. It's also the stretch they failed to win a game in last season.
“We're about to get through with Murderer's Row and I'm ready to get through,” Rose said. “I hope we can survive the last step.”