Clinton and Ada played a game fitting of two legendary Oklahoma high school powers.
The Red Tornadoes held on to beat Ada, 40-22, Friday night at Putnam City Stadium, setting up a rematch from earlier this season between Clinton and Anadarko for the Class 4A state title.
Anadarko, the defending 3A state champion, defeated Wagoner, the defending 4A state champion, in the other 4A semifinal Friday night.
Clinton lost to Anadarko, 28-21, Oct. 5, at Anadarko, the only loss the Red Tornadoes had to a Class 4A team this season.
“I think we are better than them,” Clinton quarterback Garrison Mendoza said. “We've just got to go play our game. It will be fun.”
Mendoza's leaping interception midway through the fourth quarter on Friday night helped seal the victory over Ada, which fell behind 33-7 early in the second half but threatened to make it an exciting finish.
Ada rallied with two third quarter touchdowns to cut the deficit to 33-22 and had the momentum. The Cougars then held Clinton without a first down on the Red Tornadoes next possession.
Ada was seemingly driving for its third consecutive touchdown when Mendoza made a leaping interception — the Red Tornadoes third pick of the game — on the Clinton 25 with 8:19 remaining in the contest.
The interception thwarted the Ada rally, and Clinton seized back the momentum when running back Marquiz Simpkins had a 50-yard run to the Ada 19.
Six plays later, Mendoza scored from the 1, his second touchdown on a quarterback sneak in the game, and the Red Tornadoes advanced to their 14th state championship game under head coach Mike Lee.
Simpkins scored on runs of 24 and 12 yards in the game and rushed for 185 yards on 24 carries.