STILLWATER — Walking off the field during a timeout with 2:34 left in the Class 2A state championship game, Oklahoma Christian backup running back Cameron James held his hand in the air, showing two fingers, then five.
Then he did it again. And again.
It was clear that the Saints were fighting through the final minutes of the Class 2A state championship game for sophomore running back Luke Frankfurt, who had to be carted off the field in the fourth quarter after what appeared to be a serious injury. Frankfurt wore No. 25.
The Saints played for Frankfurt, and won for him, 44-41 over Davis Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium to bring OCS its first state football championship in its sixth try.
“The way the guys came back, with Luke going down, and Cameron James coming in, the guys really showed a lot of heart,” coach Derek Turner said. “(After the injury) Luke didn't want to leave. He's the biggest competitor you'll ever see and he wanted to be here.”
OCS was 0-5 in title game appearances, all in eight-man football, reaching the finals in 1981-82, 1994, 1997 and 2001.
But Saturday night, led by the pass-and-catch combination of Austin Brooks and Connor Sikes, the Saints finally seized the gold ball.
Brooks threw three interceptions in his first seven pass, but was nearly perfect after that. He finished with 387 yards, more than 300 coming after his three interceptions.
He found Sikes for TDs of 63 and 25, along with a few other big plays. Sikes finished with 213 yards on seven catches.
“We had to keep our composure,” Brooks said. “We lost it for a little bit, but we had to bounce back. Connor kept going across the middle, kept going after the ball. He was great.
“This is more amazing than I ever dreamed of.”
Frankfurt, an emotional leader on both sides of the ball, had 55 of his 70 rushing yards in the second half, and his running ability helped OCS milk the clock.
His loss appeared crucial for the Saints, both from football and mental perspectives. But James filled in with 72 yards on 10 carries, virtually all after Frankfurt's injury.
The entire team kneeled around Frankfurt while he was down for several minutes, and prayed before he was loaded onto a stretcher.
“Me and Luke have played together for a while and that was hard,” said senior Blake Barnes, who caught two touchdown passes, and intercepted a Davis pass in the closing seconds to seal the win.
“I really wish he was here. This is just a great cap on the season. It's impossible to describe what I'm feeling right now. It's just amazing.”