TULSA — Metro Christian wide receiver Connor Drake pulled off an impressive tri-fecta Thursday night, scoring three touchdowns as the Patriots handed Verdigris their first loss of the season.
Drake caught two touchdown passes of 15 and 25 yards, as well as adding a 1-yard scoring run to lead the Patriots past the Cardinals, 45-16, in District 3A-6 action.
Early and often, Metro Christian took control with its explosive passing game. Quarterback Andrew Hearon completed 26-of-40 passes for 375 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
In the first quarter, Metro Christian running back Solomon Prince put the Patriots ahead 7-0, scoring on a 9-yard run. Shortly thereafter, the Patriots extended their lead to 10-0 with a 28-yard field goal.
With their backs against the wall and playing in a hostile environment, Verdigris running back J.D. Hanslovan silenced the home crowd with a 1-yard touchdown run. Hanslovan's kick failed and Verdigris trimmed the Patriots' lead to 10-6 in the second quarter.
After stopping the Patriots on their ensuing possession, Verdigris narrowed the gap to 10-9 on Hanslovan's 21-yard field goal. That would, however, be the closest that Verdigris could stay within the highly-potent Metro Christian offense.
Hearon, who has passed for 2,319 yards and 25 touchdowns in eight games, tossed his first of four touchdowns right before halftime. Cutting across the field, Drake hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hearon to put Metro Christian ahead 17-9.
Drake's 1-yard touchdown run closed out the first half with the Patriots enjoying a comfortable 24-9 lead over Verdigris.
Hearon's second touchdown pass of the game came in the opening stages of the third quarter — a 35-yard strike to Drew Hillenburg — to increase the Patriots' lead to 31-9.
After 21 unanswered points by the Patriots, Verdigris finally stopped the bleeding and found paydirt for a 3-yard touchdown run by Tanner Smith. Smith tallied 163 yards on the night to lead the Verdigris ground attack.
In the fourth quarter, Hearon fired touchdown passes of 6 yards to Danny Burke and 25 yards to Drake to seal the win over Verdigris.
Metro Christian's offense amassed 413 yards with 20 first downs. Verdigris, meanwhile, had 300 total yards and 16 first downs.
Verdigris quarterback Christian Hitchcock completed 7-of-15 passes for 46 yards and one interception.
With the win, Metro Christian improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in district. The Patriots also claimed sole possession of the district race.
Verdigris dropped to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in district.