DETROIT (WOOD) — As the fourth quarter opened Saturday in a defensive battle, it was Lawton getting the advantage on a field goal, holding its first lead in its first ever state title game at 10-7.
Pewamo-Westphalia, however, had an answer of its own, which proved to be enough.
With a score late, the Pirates (14-0) took a 14-10 lead and defeated Lawton (13-1) for a Division 7 championship.
Despite the loss, this was still an unforgettable season for Lawton, which had never made a run so deep into the postseason.
“It was really a legendary run that no one expected us to make,” Lawton quarterback Landon Motter said. “We went on to win a district title, then a regional then a semifinal game, and made it here today. That’s pretty special.”
Lawton head coach Wade Waldrup couldn’t have been more proud of how his team represented its community.
“Everything these young men have done since I’ve known them has been excellent,” Waldrup said. “They know how to live the Blue Devil way. They choose to play football, which isn’t an easy thing. If it was easy everyone would do it. Football season is 365 days a year and these kids did it the Lawton way.”
It was early trouble for the Blue Devils as quarterback Motter lost the ball on the keeper and Pewamo-Westphalia fell on the ball at the Lawton 36 yard line.
That would give the Pirates an early chance to score and they didn’t miss. Pewamo-Westphalia quarterback Cam Cook capped off a four-play, 36-yard drive with a 3-yard scamper for the game’s first score, making it 7-0.
The teams traded turnovers and battled on defense until the late stages of the second quarter. Lawton was driving the ball when there appeared to be an interception. Replay overturned it. On the following play, Motter slinged it deep to Luke Leighton for a 41-yard touchdown.
Suddenly the game was tied at 7 heading to the locker room. Neither team had more than 130 yards of total offense in the opening two frames.
The third quarter would bring more of the same. Neither team could get deep into enemy territory on offense.
However, Lawton opened the the fourth quarter by giving field goal kicker Ethan O’Donnell a 43-yard chance to give the Blue Devil’s their first lead of the game. He put it right through the uprights.
It was 10-7 Blue Devils for the moment, but the Pirates had a response.
Dak Ewalt ripped off a 35-yard touchdown rush, blowing by all of the Lawton defenders with a burst to the end zone. Just like that, Lawton trailed Pewamo-Westphalia once again at 14-10 with 5:50 remaining.
“I told those kids to try and close the gaps and make a pile and (Pewamo-Westphalia)‘s kid made a nice play to score and find the hole,” Waldrup said. “That was a coaching call by me that wasn’t the right call, but I don’t regret it. It worked earlier in the game.”
It wasn’t the ending the Blue Devils wanted in their first state title game appearance. However, this is the kind of season that sets building blocks for the future.
“We have some really good juniors and sophomores that will help us next year; we’re deep,” Waldrup said. “I’m sad to see it end for the seniors, but they did it the Blue Devil way. And that’s what we ask them to do.”