TULSA - A week after an offensive meltdown against Sperry, the Verdigris Cardinals executed against Victory Christian.
Then they executed again and finally executed some more.
By the time they finished, smiles were all around for coach Travis East and his team, and the Conquerors were dead in the water.
The Cardinals scored three touchdowns on returns and racked up 242 yards on run backs, easing to a 72-13 triumph Friday night at Victory Stadium.
Verdigris appeared like a team possessed, scoring on interception returns of 67 and 59 yards and a fumble jaunt of 50 yards.
Senior receiver Toby Willis snagged two TD tosses from quarterback Hayden Jones, and Jones added three more scores on a 5-yard carry, longest pick-six and a 2-yard blast.
“We came out and played tonight. We played the way we’re capable of playing,’’ said East, who saw his team take advantage of six VCS turnovers and a starting lineup with just three seniors. “We executed in all three phases of the game. I’m very happy with our players, team and coaches. We did what we knew we could do.’’
The Cardinals (1-1) led 66-0 in the second quarter and proceeded to clear their bench as a running clock took over in the second half.
East had 11 different rushers compile 180 yards en route to 372 yards of total offense. Freshman Caden Parnell led with 73 ground yards.
Victory inserted four quarterbacks, leading to three interceptions, and gained 235 yards overall.
Running back Solomon Byrams rambled for 131 yards on 17 attempts, the sole bright spot for the Conquerors.
“Tonight was just a matter of calming down and playing our game,’’ East said. “Good things happen to teams who execute, and hopefully it will start a season run. We limited our penalties and didn’t turn the ball over. Our (reserves) had a lot of energy too and they got to play a lot of football.’’
Verdigris scored on its first series of the game when Jones rambled into the end zone from 5 yards out and Parnell ran for the conversion.
Four minutes later, an interception at the Cards’ 15 setup a 70-yard scoring pass from Jones to Kaleson Marshall. Willis again ran for two points and a 16-0 lead.
Two snaps after VCS quarterback Triton Chandler fumbled the ball away at his own 31, Jones found Willis’ from 29 yards, and Willis’ two-point conversion gave the Cards a 24-0 lead after one period.
Verdigris poured on 42 points in the second frame, getting Jones’ 67-yard pickoff return, another 29-yard bomb from Jones to Willis, a 31-yard scoring scamper by Carson Cook, Parnell’s 42-yard TD burst, a 2-yard dash by Jones and a 50-yard fumble return by Eli Runyun.
Ahead 66-0 with 3:45 in the half, East had the luxury of calling off his dogs.