TULSA - As soon as Inola figured out it was playing the No. 2 team in Class 3A in the first round of the playoffs, it knew it had a tough task in front of it.
With Lincoln Christian entering the game with a 10-0 record and having beat the Longhorns in Week Zero in a lopsided 51-19 victory, Inola coach Jeff Williams and the Longhorns arrived at Dennis Byrd Stadium as heavy underdogs.
During the pregame warmups, Inola and its fans showed great energy and confidence.
The Longhorns received the kickoff to start the game, and they nearly brought it out to the 35-yard line.
Junior quarterback Landon Prows proceeded to throw for a first down on the second play of the drive, and it felt like the Longhorns were going to start the game off rolling.
Unfortunately, Lincoln Christian’s defense quickly found its stride, and that would be the only first down the Longhorns would get on the opening drive.
After Inola punted the ball, it did not take long for the Bulldogs to get on the scoreboard.
Senior running back Josh Kaste ran for a 56-yard touchdown on its second offensive play, and the Bulldogs went on to win, 56-7.
Kaste put on a show during the first three quarters, running for 212 yards and five touchdowns on only 10 carries while also catching a 59-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chase Ricke.
This was not Ricke’s best game of the season, but he got the job done by throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns despite completing only 7 of his 16 pass attempts.
Inola’s offense struggled most of the game against the Bulldogs’ fundamentally sound defense that collected five sacks along with a fumble recovery.
The Longhorns rushed for only 49 yards, with senior running back Clint Stites accounting for 43 of them.
Landen Prows threw for 146 yards and a touchdown, completing 16 of his 31 pass attempts.
Although the outcome of this game was not what Inola had hoped for, it never showed any indications of giving up.
The Longhorn defense had some success stopping Lincoln Christian’s offense, and Prows fought until the end with his squad by getting a touchdown to end the game.
Lincoln Christian advances to the second round to play Kingfisher, which bested Marlow in a three-overtime classic.
Coach Williams has been able to gradually improve Inola’s record from their 3-7 season in 2017, and it will be interesting to see if he can do more of the same next season.