ELMORE CITY – The Caddo Bruins have finished their return to 11-man football with a 3-6 record, falling to the Badgers on Friday in a 59-20 road contest.
District 1A-5 will continue play next week to end the regular season, but the Bruins had their bye week in the final week, so the 2012 contest is over for Caddo football.
“We were expecting to play a lot better (on Friday),” said Caddo Coach Jeremy Proctor. “We knew there were playoff implications. We told the seniors, this was their playoff game.”
It was the final game in a Bruin football uniform for six players: Jacob Argo, Zack McMillin, Jack Wright, Josh Ringle, Ryan Minyard and Josh Yong. There are nine juniors on the team, 14 underclassmen and a “pretty good group of (2013) freshmen” who will replenish the ranks next fall.
Proctor finishes his first year as head coach of the football squad, after replacing Randy Hitsman who went to Bells, Texas (0-8 this season) following last year’s state championship run in eight-man. Proctor’s assistants are Brian Walker, Shane Millermon and Krys Gross.
“We’re happy with how the season went,” Proctor said. “We moved up a class, and into a tough district, but I told the kids, ‘Don’t hang your heads for any reason.’”
The Bruins took victories from Wilson, Durant junior varsity and Maysville. A win on Friday would have set up a potential tie between the Bruins and the Badgers or Stratford for the final district playoff spot.
As it stands now, Elmore City-Pernell and Stratford will face off this week, with the winner getting that final spot. Unfortunately, Wynnewood will be district champions by virtue of a 35-34 win over Wayne. Defending 1A champs Wayne and Wewoka are also in the playoffs.
Caddo looked poised to give the Badgers a run on Friday night. After a 45-yard touchdown for Quinton Stueart of the Badgers, Caddo responded with a Triston Paris connection to McMillin which tied the game at seven (after Jack Wright’s kick).
As time expired in the first quarter, Stueart made a scoring catch which was very close to an incomplete pass, as the ball appeared to kick up grass as it was caught at ground level. The play deflated the Bruins and put ECP ahead 14-7.
Interceptions and a dominant performance for Stueart marked the rest of the game. The Badgers scored 20 points in the second quarter on two interceptions and two more scoring runs for Stueart as the home team took a 44-7 senior night lead into halftime.
Stueart wasn’t finished, taking another 50-yard reception to the house midway through the third, leaving Caddo staring at a 51-7 Badger lead. But the Bruins had an answer for this one: Paris linked up with Wyatt Wright on a 51-yard pass on the next play.
On the Badgers’ next drive, Tanner Grace picked up a fumble for a 27-yard defensive touchdown, part of a big yardage night for Grace as he closed in on 1,000 yards for the season. McMillin’s point-after kick was true and the Badger lead was down to 51-20.
Caddo recovered an Elmore City fumble in the fourth, only to give up another INT a few plays later. Kurt Richardson of the Badgers would find the end zone in the closing seconds, with a good two-point conversion making the final 59-20.