VERDIGRIS — They did it again.
Displaying offensive explosiveness and defensive rigidity, Verdigris parlayed both into a surprisingly easy 59-13 victory over Inola on Thursday night at Cardinal Stadium.
Despite missing top quarterback Hayden Jones, sidelined with a sprained ankle, Verdigris didn’t miss a beat behind the throwing and running of freshman Dylan White.
While the Cardinals have become accustomed to throwing and scoring behind Jones in recent weeks, White hit 12-of-21 passes for 194 yards and ran for 53 more.
“Dylan has a great future in our program,’’ VHS coach Travis East said. “Our offense got us points and except for the first play, our defense played great. They did what they needed to do, causing turnovers and playing tough. I think we’re getting better every day.’’
The Cardinal defenders limited the Longhorns to minus 18 yards running the ball and forced seven turnovers, including six interceptions.
Verdigris displayed a balanced offense with 483 total yards, allowing Inola just 185.
Longhorn coach Jeff Williams’ team had allowed just two interceptions all season coming into the game, but a car crash knocked out two of his starting offensive linemen this week, allowing quarterback Landen Prows little time to throw.
“Verdigris has so many weapons and their defense is so well coached,’’ Williams said. “We knew we had to play exceptionally well because they very well may be the best team in our district. We knew we had to stop them running the football and they probably have the best receiver in 3A. It can be a quick death or a slow death.’’
Williams was talking about VHS receiver Toby Willis, who snagged four passes for 132 yards and a 60-yard touchdown.
From his D-back spot, Wllis also returned an interception into a 99-yard score, giving the Cardinals a 27-6 lead in the first period.
With the win, Verdigris moves to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in District 3A-4, dropping Inola to 4-3 and 2-2.
With Cascia Hall’s loss to No. 1 Berryhill on Thursday night, the Cardinals are tied for second in the league.
Inola shocked Verdigris on the game’s first play, when Prows swung a pass out wide to Dalton Norman and the junior relayed the ball downfield to Ethan Trosky for a 64-yard touchdown. Just 17 seconds into the fray, the Horns led 6-0.
The Cardinals used Willis’ first interception at his own 23 to setup a seven-play, 77-yard series that tied the game 6-6.
Junior running back Alec James scored from 3 yards out and VHS took the lead for good 19 seconds later when Ty Moore picked off Prows again and rumbled 45 yards down the sideline.
James added another 3-yard TD run with 2:29 left in the first quarter and two plays following the ensuing kickoff, Willis swiped another Prows pitch and ran it back 99 yards to make it 27-6.
Verdigris built an imposing 39-6 halftime spread when Willis hauled in a 60-yard missile from White on the third snap of period two.
The Cardinals’ fourth pick at Inola’s 33 led to Dylan Collins’ 1-yard blast 1:22 prior to intermission.
Freshman Reese Roller scored the home team’s seventh touchdown on a 13-yard run in the third period. Sophomore Michael Stump, who led the Cardinals with 73 rushing yards, made it 53-6 on a 4-yard TD punch with 10:45 left in the game.