LAWTON — Sophomore linebacker Keaton Bell wasn't in the lineup to start the football season for Southmoore.
Thursday night, against Class 6A No. 1-ranked Lawton, Bell came up huge.
He had an interception and forced a pair of fumbles that Southmoore recovered as the SaberCats beat the Wolverines 20-17 on the road.
“It was more mental why he wasn't playing earlier,” Southmoore coach Jeff Brickman said. “He's come a long way, though. He's got a chance to be a really special player for us.”
There was little doubt about that against Lawton, as all of the turnovers came deep inside Southmoore territory.
“There aren't a lot of people that have known who he was,” Southmoore's Jackson Stallings said. “He just has a downhill mentality to everything he does. I'm excited to see where he goes the rest of the way.”
Bell forced the first fumble on first down from the Southmoore 22 early in the first quarter, sacking Lawton quarterback Jack Meservy and jarring the ball loose.
The second came late in the first half when he again hit Meservy, this time on first down from the 11.
The play ended a 14-play drive with no points on the board for Lawton.
Five plays later, after back-to-back 37-yard passes by Tre Edwards, Jaelon Walker put Southmoore up 20-2 going into the half with a 2-yard touchdown run.
But Lawton came back in the second half with a healthy dose of running back Ivan Thomas, who finished with 131 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
But Lawton came up empty on a 15-play drive that took up nearly half of the fourth.
Southmoore picked up four first downs on the next drive, although the final play of the drive gave Brickman the most heartburn.
The SaberCats' No. 1 punter was hurt, and Brickman didn't want to risk another bad snap on a punt like the one that had cost Southmoore a safety early.
He also didn't want to send his offense out and have Lawton get the ball at around the 40.
So Brickman ordered a quick kick, resulting in a touchback.
Still, the SaberCats forced Lawton to the air with Meservy, who started after Dallas Sealey was injured last week.
Lawton picked up one first down on a penalty but couldn't move it any further as Southmoore closed out its biggest win of the season.
“I had some opportunities when Coach (Chris) Jensen left to do some different things,” said Brickman, who was an assistant before Jensen left to become head coach at Oklahoma Baptist University. “I really wanted this job because I believe we had a special team. I put so much work into the last few years, and I wanted to be a part of it.
“I'm so happy that they're doing well. Let's just not stop here. We've got a big game next week. I think we can win the gold ball, I really do. Especially with the way our defense is playing. The defense won this game for us tonight.”