DURANT - Halloween saved its nastiest tricks for the Durant Lions (1-8, 0-6) Friday night as they fell to the Noble Bears (4-5, 2-4) to the tune of 54-27.
What started well, didn’t end well. Durant forced four Noble fumbles in the first half and still trailed at halftime 34-13.
Protecting the ball was a problem for both teams as they combined for 9 turnovers.
Durant QB Zac Cater was harassed all night by a relentless pass rush and was sacked six times for a negative 70 yards. Faced with tight pass coverage, Cater finished the game 24-of-35, 256 passing yards, 3TDs and 1 INT.
Lions RB Kooper Cavender got into the passing mix with two receiving touchdowns. Tyler Stovall had five catches for 42 yards and a touchdown.
The run defense of Noble made Durant’s running game all but nonexistent with a total of 39 yards. And Noble went up-and-down the field on Durant with a total of 278 rushing yards and 254 passing yards.
The game began with an opening kick-off fumble by Noble and the Lions recovered at the Bears 40-yard line. However, Durant’s offense stalled and had to punt. The kicked stop at the Bears’ 10-yard line.
Noble marched down the field in 8 plays and scored the game’s first points. Then Noble scored on defense when the ball was stripped away from Stovall and ran back for a touchdown. The Lions trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bears opened the second quarter with a 10-play drive that ended with 30-yard passing touchdown. After a three-and-out by the Lions, Noble scored again on a 35-yard pass play. With 4:22 left in the half, Noble led 27-0.
Then Durant’s offense awoke and scored on a 9-play drive. Cater found Cavender open on a short pass and Cavender ran it in for a 15-yard receiving touchdown. The Lions trailed 27-7.
With 43 seconds left in the half, Noble was driving down field. Then a bad snap caused a fumble and Durant’s defense scooped it up and ran for a touchdown. Lions cut the lead to 27-13.
Forty seconds still remained in the half and Noble used every second. In just five plays the Bears drove down field and scored with nine seconds on the clock to extend its lead to 34-13 at the half.
After halftime, the Lions quickly scored on a Cater to Cavender hook up that went for a 36-yard passing touchdown and cut the lead to 34-20. Noble would answer just as quickly on a 31-yard rushing touchdown.
The Lions were at Noble’s 12-yard line and threatening to score. Durant lined up in wild-cat type formation and Stovall was lined up as quarterback. But the ball was snapped over his head and Noble recovered the fumble. Seven plays later the Bears turned the Lions miscue into a touchdown. The Lions trailed 48-20.
Later, the Lions would score when Cater found Stovall in the middle field wide open and he turned it into a 38-yard touchdown and the last for the Lions. Noble scored once more to put the game to rest and the Lions fell 54-27.
The last game of the season for the Lions is at home against an 0-9 Tulsa Hale team next Friday at Paul Laird Field. Kick-off time is at 7:30 p.m.