BLANCHARD — With the District 3A-1 championship on the line against rival Tuttle, Blanchard's senior leaders stepped up.
Running back Braden Stringer rushed for 271 yards and four touchdowns, and defensive back Braden Bush came up with a game-clinching interception as top-ranked Blanchard held on for a 35-28 victory.
However, Bush nearly wasn't the hero he turned out to be. With just over a minute remaining and Tuttle driving at the Blanchard 37-yard line, a receiver came open behind the defense for what would have been a game-tying score.
But as Tuttle quarterback Jett Jobe's pass hung in the air, Bush recovered to make the interception just outside the goal line and seal the win.
“They were running the ball a lot and then when they finally passed we had a little bit of busted coverage,” Bush said. “We were peaking in the backfield some, and all the sudden I see a guy getting open deep. I thought ‘oh, man this is going to be a bad deal.' I knew I had to do something so I just went and made a play.”
Blanchard coach Jeff Craig was happy to get the win, but unhappy with how his team played overall.
The Lions had three turnovers, 14 penalties, and surrendered nine points on special teams plays.
“It's always nice to get a win against a rival and get a district championship on top of that,” Craig said. “There's a lot of plusses to winning this game that I'm trying to enjoy instead of looking at how bad we played. We've focused on fixing the turnovers and penalties for a few weeks now. We've gotta quit saying it, and start doing it. Our guys were resilient enough to come through, and that's what counts.”