MIDWEST CITY — Carl Albert converted on two fourth down conversions in the second half on Friday night, and the No. 3-ranked Titans trimmed No. 8 Ardmore 23-20 in a game between Class 5A high school football powers at Jim Harris Stadium.
The teams each had 100 yards offense at halftime, but Carl Albert led 9-6 on the scoreboard.
Ardmore quarterback Travis Galbreath marched his team 46 yards on the Tigers' first second-half possession. Running back Kenny Gordon capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give Ardmore a 13-9 lead and momentum.
The Tigers' defense didn't let up, stopping Carl Albert at Ardmore's 37-yard line and setting up a critical fourth-and-7.
Carl Albert coach Gary Rose rolled the dice, and quarterback Dillan Dansby responded with a 14- yard, first down pass on the boundary to Darrain Winston to keep the drive alive. The Titans finished the drive with Taylor Hawkins' 1-yard run. Carl Albert moved in front 15-13.
“That play was all Winston,” Dansby said of the fourth down play. “He did a great job of coming back to the ball and getting his foot down inbounds. It was a great play.”
Dansby won the starting quarterback role last year but sat out most of the season with an injury. Hawkins took over at quarterback in 2010 and is still used in short-yardage situations this season.
Hawkins is a bruiser, one of the hardest hitters on defense. The Titans use Hawkins on offense for short-yardage needs.
Hawkins got the call to replace Dansby late in the fourth quarter. The Titans were trying to protect their two-point lead and faced a fourth-and-3 from Ardmore's 21-yard line.
Some in the stadium expected Hawkins to follow his blockers on a quarterback keeper. Instead, Hawkins rolled out and hit Darren Colquitt in the flat for a 12-yard gain. Hawkins later ran for a 7-yard touchdown to seal the game.
“I thought we were going to run the ball on the fourth down play,” Hawkins said. “They called the play-action pass, and I had to hold off the defensive end with one arm while I threw the ball.”
Ardmore added a late touchdown with just seconds left in the game to make the score respectable.
Galbreath finished with 199 yards passing.
“Ardmore is a good team,” Dansby said. “I think we could see them again in the state finals.”