A disappointing season had an upbeat ending for the Verdigris Cardinals against Sperry Friday night.
Austin Senephimmachack scored on a 10-yard run with 2:17 remaining, lifting coach Tony Daniels’ club to a 14-10 victory over the Pirates at Cardinals Stadium. The win on Senior Night enabled Verdigris to finish fifth in District 3A-5 with a 2-4 record and 2-8 overall. Sperry concluded 1-5 and 1-9.
“It was Senior Night and we came out with a win,’’ said Daniels. “I don’t care if it was one point or 90 points. It doesn’t matter. It puts in a good position and sets the stage for next year.’’
Senephimmachack racked up 123 rushing yards on 26 carries and scored the winning touchdown on the seventh play of a 50-yard drive. Junior quarterback Reece Phillips scrambled 24 yards to the Sperry 10 before stepping out of bounds. Senephimmachack scored on the next play.
Phillips ran for the two conversion points, then finished the Pirates by intercepting freshman quarterback Colton Scheulen’s pass at the Sperry 37 in the final minute.
The Cards’ Dylan Hight fumbled the ball away at his own 32 late in the third period, setting up a 37-yard field goal by freshman Jose Garcia with 5.9 seconds left. Sperry, finishing with just 153 total yards and five first downs, led 10-6 and appeared to have the momentum.
Following the kickoff, Verdigris drove from its own 38 to the Pirates’ 15 before stalling on downs.
“We’ve been fighting all year trying to cut down our mistakes,’’ said Daniels. “We had two touchdowns called back in the first half because of mistakes that shouldn’t have happened. But our kids have grown up all year and I’m very proud of them.’’
Sperry took a 7-0 lead in the first period following a 57-yard end around run by Jeremy Statham to the six- yard line. Scheulen passed the final five yards to John Gruenwald. The Cardinals came within 7-6 in the second quarter on a 60-yard, nine play drive that ended on Hight’s four-yard run. A bad snap on the conversion killed the Cards‘ chance to tie the game.
Verdigris saw Phillips’ 65-yard fumble return for a touchdown and Senephimmachack’s 57-yard TD run wiped by penalties in the first half.