Turnovers and a physical foe proved too much for Kingfisher to overcome.
The Yellowjackets were handed their second loss of the season last Friday as they surrendered 328 rushing yards and three turnovers in a 21-10 setback to visiting Clinton on homecoming night.
“They’re a tough, physical team, which is what you expect anytime you take on Clinton,” KHS head coach Jeff Myers said. “You’ve got to be able to match that and limit mistakes and we weren’t quite able to do that.”
KHS dropped to 3-2 on the season.
The Jackets were originally scheduled to host Douglass in a District 3A-1 matchup, but the Trojans were forced out when Oklahoma City Public Schools shut down activities for the week due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Clinton, which is in Class 4A this year, was also without a foe due to similar circumstances, which set up the non-district game.
One of Kingfisher’s more productive drives came on its first one of the game.
The Jackets ate more than five minutes off the clock and pushed the ball inside the Clinton 10 before quarterback Jax Sternberger was stripped after scrambling for a first down.
That proved to be King fisher’s deepest penetration until its last drive of the game.
The Red Tornadoes – which had forced 13 turnovers in three games entering the night – picked off Sternberger on Kingfisher’s second drive and also had an interception in the second half.
While the Kingfisher defense was holding firm, the Red Tornadoes were still pounding away and establishing the run game.
“The way they’re so methodical on offense, it can really wear down a defense over the course of a game,” Myers said. “But it also limits your chances on offense, so you have to take advantage of them.”
Kingfisher’s lone firsthalf score came on an Aaron Delatorre 27-yard field goal in the final minute.
That pulled the Jackets within 7-3 after Clinton had scored its lone first-half TD on an Atrel Bryson 6-yard run at 3:46 of the second quarter.
The Red Tornadoes stuck with the run game to start the second half and drove 74 yards in 5:20. A 14-yard score by Tyson Miller at 6:40 of the third put the Reds up 14-3.
Aaron Seabolt intercepted Sternberger on the next KHS possession and the Jackets never could close the gap.
The Reds kept it on the ground and threatened to add to their lead early in the fourth before T.J. Parker forced a fumble that Tate Taylor pounced on at the Kingfisher 9.
The Jackets eventually had to punt it away and Clinton turned that into a 72-yard drive that saw Caden Powell score on a 3-yard keeper with 3:02 to play.
KHS didn’t pack it in.
Taylor had a 38-yard reception to keep Kingfisher’s drive alive and Sternberger later lofted a pass to Cade Stephenson for a 5-yard touchdown with 20 seconds to play.
Sternberger did throw for 242 yards on 15 of 27 passing.
Stephenson caught five of those passes for 99 yards while Jarret Birdwell had four receptions for 60 yards.
Stephenson added 112 rushing yards on 17 attempts, giving him 211 total yards of offense.
“He’s always the best or one of the best players on the field and that was no different tonight,” Myers said of his senior, who also had seven tackles.
“We just couldn’t break that big play when we needed to.”
Kingfisher’s stats backed that up.
The Jackets actually outgained Clinton 374-354.
However, the Red Tornadoes ran it 46 times for 328 yards.
“Eventually, with our depth, we just wore down,” Myers said. “I thought our defense played well, but it just adds up. That was a good team that beat us.”
The Jackets return to district action this week when they travel to McLoud on Friday.
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.