COWETA — On his way to a four-touchdown evening, Coweta’s Mason Ford notched the scoring trifecta.
Ford tallied touchdowns through the air, on the ground and via special teams and fifth-ranked Coweta scored the game’s first 35 points on the way to a convincing 42-14 victory against Tahlequah in a Class 5A first-round playoff contest Friday night at Tiger Stadium.
With the victory, Coweta (10-1) advances to the quarterfinals next Friday and will travel to play third-ranked Midwest City Carl Albert.
“It was a good night,” Ford admitted after the game, noting that it was the first time in a contest for him to notch scores receiving, rushing and on special teams.
He now has tallied nine touchdowns in his last two games.
Ford opened the scoring when he grabbed a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gage Hamm in the first quarter. The reception was one of seven on the evening for him, all coming in the first half, for 96 yards.
After Will Mason, who led all rushers with 103 yards on the ground on 17 carries, tallied a pair of touchdowns on plays covering 24 and 5 yards, Ford found pay dirt again.
With just a minute to play in the first half, he took a pitch on an end-around from the right side and raced into the end zone from 13 yards out.
That touchdown gave Coweta a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Ford tallied his third touchdown of the contest on a three-yard plunge with 1:27 to play in the third quarter to end Coweta’s string of 35 unanswered points.
That touchdown came on the first play after Ford had set up his team inside the Tahlequah 5-yard line with a 27-yard punt return.
But the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder was not done.
After Tahlequah (7-4) scored its first points of the game with a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Ford took the ensuing kickoff and motored 82 yards to make it 42-7 with 9:47 remaining.
“My favorite touchdown was probably the kickoff return,” he said. “You don’t really see those that much. It was my first one of the year and I was happy.”
Coweta coach Tim Harper knows Ford is a special player.
“He is as good a player as I have ever coached,” Harper said. “He is just a phenomenal young man. We are really proud of him.”
Hamm finished 12-of-20 passing for 164 yards with no interceptions, although he did lose a fumble on Coweta’s opening drive of the second half for his team’s only turnover.
The Coweta defense surrendered just 75 yards rushing while forcing a pair of turnovers (one interception, one recovered fumble).
Tahlequah quarterback Tyler Joice completed 15 of 27 passes for 173 yards with 141 of those coming in the second half.
Joice tossed fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 8 yards to Parker Lane and 24 yards to Cale Matlock.
COWETA 42, TAHLEQUAH 14
Tahlequah 0 0 0 14 — 14
Coweta 14 14 7 7 — 42
COW — Mason Ford 28 pass from Gage Hamm (Brody Rucker kick), 8:14
COW — Will Mason 24 run (Rucker kick), 2:28
COW — Mason 5 run (Rucker kick), 4:02
COW — Ford 13 run (Rucker kick), 1:01
COW — Ford 3 run (Rucker kick), 12:7
TAH — Parker Lane 8 pass from Tyler Joice (Bodee Jimmerson kick), 9:59
COW — Ford 82 kickoff return (Rucker kick), 9:47
TAH — Cale Matlock 24 pass from Joice (Jimmerson kick), 7:07
First Downs — TAH 14, COW 20. Rushes-Yards — TAH 28-75, COW 40-218. Comp-Att-Int — TAH 15-28-1, COW 12-20-0. Passing Yards — TAH 173, COW 164. Fumbles-Lost — TAH 1-0, COW 2-1. Penalty Yards — TAH 55, COW 138. Records — TAH 7-4, COW 10-1. Total Yards — TAH 248, COW 382. Punts-Avg. — TAH 6-25.2, COW 3-41.3.