The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 24, 2012

Laverne-Panthers rematch set for Class B finals

By Ryan Costello, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — After falling a game short of having the chance last season, the Laverne Tigers will play for a Class B state championship.

Rejoice Christian forced three fourth downs in the second quarter of Friday’s Class B semifinal at D. Bruce Selby Stadium, and Laverne converted all three, including two for long scores, in a 22-point frame that was the biggest blow in a 48-8 win and a trip to the Class B State Championship on Friday.

One posession after junior running back Trevor Harris took an inside handoff, shook loose from an Eagle tackler and bounced outside for 36-yard touchdown run on fourth down, the Tigers faced fourth down and 7 from the Rejoice 47. Laverne coach Tim Allen dialed up a pass in the hopes of catching the Eagles’ defense off guard.

The gamble worked.

“The corner was back pedaling (after the snap),” Laverne quarterback Tucker Rolf said. “I knew we had him, so I threw it and let my receiver make a play.”

That receiver was Gage Murphy, and the pass was dead-on, landing softly over the streaking senior wideout’s right shoulder for a 47-yard score.

“(Murphy) just went and made a play,” Allen said. “(We) probably should have punted the ball there in that situation, but he made us look good.”

Laverne added another score with 47 seconds remaining in the first half when Roth rumbled three yards for a score after the Tigers converted a third-straight fourth down on a 20-yard catch by Seth Overstreet.

The lopsided second quarter gave Laverne a 30-0 halftime lead, more than enough for Laverne’s rarely-dented defense, which held Rejoice Christian’s typically free-running ground game to 78 yards through three quarters. The Eagles gained traction against Laverne’s second unit to finish with 177.

The Eagles entered the semifinal round averaging 284 rushing yards per contest.

“They had a lot of misdirection,” sophomore Dalton Birch said. “We just had to stay home, play solid defense and make good tackles. We maintained our gaps in coverage and played solid defense.”

Rolf paced the Tigers’ offense through the air and on the ground, completing eight of nine passes for 118 yards and a score. He carrried the ball eight times for 91 yards and two scores.

Birch finished with 74 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Harris added 86 yards and a score on nine carries.

The win sets up a rematch with Pond Creek-Hunter, which secured its berth in the title game by blanking Fox 52-0 in a mercy-rule win on Friday. Laverne beat the Panthers 36-18 on Nov. 2.

“It’s going to be tough beat them twice,” Rolf said. “They’re going to come to play, and we’re going to have to step up.”

The time and site of the game will be announced by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association today.