MUSTANG — Todd Warrington stood from his seat in the home stands, his eyes fixated on the Mustang player wearing jersey No. 12.
The Oklahoma Army National Guard soldier continued staring at the east end zone, even after his son Dakota secured a catch and fell into the red paint.
An official's hands went up to signal touchdown, and this time a good throw and secure catch weren't accompanied by yellow flags.
Given that he'd finally seen his senior son catch a varsity touchdown, one might expect Todd Warrington was overcome with emotion; he missed Dakota's first eight career scores when duty called.
But after the emotional roller coaster he's ridden through Mustang's first four games in 2012, Todd Warrington's reaction Friday was subdued. He clapped and let out a cheer, but then sat back down and refocused on the game.
“It was more just a matter of relief at that point,” said Todd Warrington, who spent last season in Afghanistan and missed Dakota's only sophomore-year touchdown while at his monthly National Guard drill.
“I've been emotionally drained over the last four weeks; I didn't have much left.”
Dakota Warrington added a second touchdown later Friday, but Mustang lost in overtime to Edmond Santa Fe, 41-35.
“That's kinda the first thing that runs through my mind when I get close, and especially when I actually got it in there,” Dakota Warrington said of scoring for his dad. “It makes that first one extra special.”
The first touchdown meant an end to a pretty frustrating stretch for the father and son; in addition to Dakota Warrington struggling through a painful ankle injury, he'd come so close to scoring in almost every 2012 game.
Early in Mustang's season-opening win at Yukon, Todd Warrington wept uncontrollably as his son hauled in a long touchdown, but then noticed the yellow flag several yards behind Dakota.
A second touchdown catch by Dakota was also called back that night because of a penalty. The next week against Putnam City North, Dakota was tackled with his head and shoulders in the end zone, but the ball outside it.
In Week 3's win over Stillwater, Mustang quarterback Frankie Edwards was under heavy pressure when he missed an open Dakota Warrington in the end zone across the middle.
Then in the fourth quarter, Dakota was running wide open down the middle of the field, with the ball set to meet him in the end zone, when his bum ankle just gave out on him.
He tried to play again in Week 4's loss at Norman, but his ankle again became a problem and forced him out of the game.
An MRI finally revealed the full extent of Dakota's injury — he had suffered high and low ankle sprains, but was told by doctors that he could play against Edmond Santa Fe that week if the pain wasn't too severe.
Dakota Warrington hauled in a total of 12 catches for 99 yards to go with his two touchdowns.
“It's a little bit sore,” Dakota Warrington said, “but a big improvement.”
Last season, Todd Warrington listened live to online radio broadcasts of Mustang games while in eastern Afghanistan. He saw all seven of his son's junior-year touchdowns on Hudl, an Internet site many schools use to watch and transmit game film.
Mustang labored through a rare losing season in 2011; Todd Warrington got 15 days at home late in the season and saw the Broncos' season finale, but his son was touchdown-less in the win at Del City.
A highlight of Dakota Warrington's junior season, though, came because of his dad — and weeks before the Del City game.
When Mustang played Edmond North at UCO's Wantland Stadium, Todd Warrington and Maj. Casey Reed, whose son Berkeley plays for the Huskies, appeared from Afghanistan in a video message, shown before the game on Wantland's Jumbotron.
Dakota Warrington and Berkeley Reed, both juniors, teared up as they watched from their respective sidelines. Now seniors, both players have their dads back.
With the district reshuffled, Mustang and Edmond North aren't scheduled to play this season.
Mustang started the season 3-0, but has now lost two straight to open district play. The Broncos play at Edmond Memorial next week.
“I think next week will be a big test to see what else we have in us,” Dakota Warrington said.
Fans pick Bridge Creek's Carlton as Player of the Week
Bishop McGuinness receiver Cody Chancellor, with his cast-wearing, 359-yard, four-touchdown performance against Carl Albert, earned the fans' vote as the NewsOK.com Varsity Football Player of the Week in the Oklahoma City metro area for Week 5.
Chancellor achieved his incredible numbers on just six receptions, including a pair of TD grabs over 80 yards, in McGuinness' 42-32 win at Carl Albert last week.
Here are the final results of the poll:
Cody Chancellor, McGuinness: 595 votes (46.6 pct.)
London Potts, Millwood: 373 votes (29.2 pct.)
Tazden Jevons, Dibble: 161 votes (12.6 pct.)
Phillip Sumpter, Edmond Santa Fe: 117 votes (9.1 pct.)
Corey Lawrence, Del City: 32 votes (2.5 pct.)
Total: 1,278 votes