Sports Sunday Correspondent
TULSA — Even though they were on the short end of a 52-3 decision Friday night at Cascia Hall, the Verdigris Cardinals at least walked away knowing they did something that the Commandos’ three previous opponents didn’t do — score.
Alex Toofan’s 43-yard field goal with 1:54 remaining gave Verdigris (4-3, 2-2) its only score. The field goal ended a streak of three consecutive shutouts for the Commandos, but extended third-ranked Cascia Hall’s run of four straight games without allowing a touchdown. For the season, the Commandos own a 327-33 edge in scoring over their opponents.
Cascia Hall (7-0 overall, 4-0 in District 2A-7) proved early on that it was worthy of its high ranking. The Commandos scored touchdowns on their first five possessions behind a solid rushing attack. They gained 106 yards rushing in the first quarter alone while building a 28-0 lead, thanks in large part to big plays.
“We take great pride in starting the game fast, and we did that tonight,” Cascia coach Joe Medina said. “We tried to mix it up offensively tonight, and I was very proud that our kids were prepared.”
Verdigris could hardly disagree. Whether it was offense, defense, or special teams, Cascia Hall was impressive. Cascia rolled up 387 yards of total offense and limited the Cardinals to just 83 yards on the ground.
Despite the low rushing output, Verdigris had a good chance to break into the end zone midway through the second quarter. Aaron Sunday connected with A.J. Fultz on a 45-yard, fourth-down pass to reach the Commando two-yard-line. However, the Commando defense stiffened and Verdigris lost a yard on its combined four plays, turning the ball over on downs.
The 45-yard completion was the longest play of the night for Verdigris and made up the bulk of Sunday’s 114 yards through the air. Fultz finished as the Cardinals’ leading receiver with five catches for 67 yards.
Cascia Hall wasted little time flexing its muscles. After Price Pinkerton intercepted a Verdigris pass on the Cardinals’ third play from scrimmage, the Commandos needed seven plays to score its first touchdown. Sean Murphy’s 14-yard burst up the middle gave Cascia a 7-0 lead.
After a 19-yard pass from Clay Algeo to Andrew Young gave Cascia Hall a 14-0 lead, the Commandos began reeling off big plays. Cascia Hall’s next three touchdowns came on plays of 39, 42 and 72 yards, boosting its lead to 35-0.
Chad Susman ended the first half on a high note for the Commandos, kicking a school-record 42-yard field goal for a 38-0 lead at halftime.
Meanwhile, Verdigris was having little offensive luck against the Commando defense. The Cardinals had just 30 rushing yards in the first half and could manage just four first downs before intermission.
CASCIA HALL 52, VERDIGRIS 3
Verdigris 0 0 0 3 — 3
Cascia Hall 28 10 7 7 — 52
Cascia — Murphy 14 run (Testa kick)
Cascia — Young 19 pass from Algeo (Testa kick)
Cascia — Clement 39 run (Testa kick)
Cascia — Pinkerton 42 pass from Algeo (Testa kick)
Cascia — Zabienski 72 run (Susman kick)
Cascia — FG, Susman 42
Cascia — Zabienski 6 run (Susman kick)
Cascia — Young 61 punt return (Susman kick)
Verdigris — FG, Toofan 43
Rushing — D.J. Sam 13-48; Ryan Haliburton – 11-37 yards
Passing —Aaron Sunday 11-21-114 yards
Receiving — A.J. Fultz – 5-67
Rushing — Denny Clement – 16-13, TD; Ryan Zabienski – 2 -78, 2 TD.
Passing — Clay Algeo – 6-11-96 yards, 2 TD,
Receiving — Price Pinkerton – 2-52, TD