By Mike Moguin
Carl Albert's Xavier Robinson photo by Michael Kinney
An offensive shootout was expected between No. 10 Midwest City Carl Albert and seventh-ranked and unbeaten Grove when the two teams met Saturday night at Owasso Stadium.
Some even thought that it would be a matchup between both teams’ running backs - the Titans’ Xavier Robinson and the Ridgerunners’ Emmanuel Crawford.
That was not the case as Carl Albert (11-2) dominated Grove (12-1) in a one-sided battle, 55-21, and advanced to another Class 5A final.
“I predicted it was going to fall that way,” Titans’ quarterback Reed DeQuasie said. “People thought we were going to lose this game. But our guys have faith and we prepared all week and were ready for them (Grove) when we came.”
Robinson ran for three touchdowns and 266 yards on 13 carries for the Titans.
“He’s a crucial part of our team. He stepped up while I was hurt, helping us get wins,” DeQuasie said. “Now, he helps us open up our passing game alongside our run game.”
Crawford and the rest of the Grove weapons were kept in check by the CA defense. Crawford also had around 200 yards rushing, but the bulk came when the Titans had put in their reserves.
DeQuasie finished with two TDs each in passing and rushing.
“It was a good performance. It helped this team go to its final game,” DeQuasie said.
“I felt like they (the media) underestimated our running back (Robinson) and I felt he showed them he was the better running back."
The Titans scored their TDs in many dazzling ways, whether it was Robinson scoring on a long run or it was DeQuasie throwing a short pass to a receiver who would get lots of yardage after the catch.
The last Titan TD was a 73-yard punt return from Trystan Haynes that brought the score to 55-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Carl Albert’s defense intercepted and sacked Ridgerunner quarterback Carson Trimble three times each. It also forced Grove to turn the ball over on downs twice.
After forcing Grove to a three-and-out, the Titans put their ground attack to work and got on the board fast with a 21-yard run from Robinson with 8:33 to go in the first quarter.
Carl Albert added another TD with a 30-yard pass from DeQuasie to Tashawn James on its next drive less than five minutes later.
The Ridgerunners answered with a two-minute drive as Crawford capped it with a 4-yard TD with 58 ticks left in the first quarter and it was 14-7.
But that just motivated CA as Robinson guided his team, carrying the load on every play before scoring from 6 yards to make it 20-7 early in the second quarter.
As Grove moved the ball again, Trimble threw deep from the Titan 46-yard line, but was picked off by Trey Washington inside the 5.
After a 7-yard rush from DeQuasie, Robsinson gunned down the right sideline 65 yards to the Grove 26. DeQuasie then passed to James, who plowed through defenders for another 20 yards, and DeQuasie capped it off with a 6-yard keeper into the end zone.
That made the score 27-7, where it stood as the first half ended.
The Titans continued to pile it on as the second half began.
DeQuasie threw a short screen to Washington, who found an open lane to scamper to the end zone for 75 yards; then came a 12-yard keeper from DeQuasie with 4:06 left in the third, followed by Robinson rushing for a 69-yard TD to make it 48-7.
Crawford would get his longest run of the night on an 80-yard TD, the second for the Ridgerunners with 10:02 left. But Carl Albert was out in front, 55-14, by that time.
Crawford added another TD from 7 yards with 1:01 left, bringing it to where the score ended.
Another trip to the championship game adds to the tradition-rich history established by Carl Albert. The Titans will face McAlester for the 5A gold ball next Saturday in Edmond.
“We don’t plan to come up short,” DeQuasie said. “We’re going to give it all we got. That's all we need.”