COMMERCE - Coming within an eyelash of creating the first-ever overtime period, both teams waited until the fourth quarter before the Gold team pulled out a 12-6 victory Saturday night in the 36th annual Oklahoma Eight Man Football Coaches Association All-Star game.
"We knew coming in it would be a low scoring ball game," Gold offensive coach Brad Spurlock said. "We knew one touchdown might be all the difference in the world."
Playing before a record crowd of more than 2,000 at Tiger Stadium, the Gold team avenged a 42-26 loss in 2007 to even the Green versus Gold series at 2-2.
Prior to that several different formats had been used to create the two all-star teams.
"This is the first game in recent memory that we've had a scoreless game going into the fourth quarter," OEMFCA executive director David Zachary said. "It's almost unheard of for this few points to be scored in an eight-man game."
After a sluggish first quarter in 90 degree heat, the Green team mounted a potential scoring drive midway through the second stanza.
Green linebacker Kyle John recovered a fumble by Gold running back Chris Bowles at the Gold 46-yard line with 8:42 left until halftime.
Quarterback Cody Bond drove the Green team to the 12 yard line in 10 plays.
On a fourth-and-goal call, Bond's pass to wide out Ricky Holba sailed incomplete in the endzone just before the end of the first half.
Neither team could mount any offensive threat before the Gold team took advantage of a bad snap with less than three minutes left in the third quarter.
Bond had dropped back to punt from his own 41-yard line. The snap flew over his head before he could down the ball at the Green 19-yard line with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Thackerville quarterback Newt Langston moved the Gold team 19 yards in nine plays to break the scoreless tie.
Just 1:16 gone into the final quarter, Langston connected with fullback Zac Beloncik on a 4-yard touchdown pass.
The two-point conversion pass was intercepted by Waynoka's Jon Nickelson as the Gold built a 6-0 lead at the 10:44 juncture.
"We saw them doing something that we thought we could exploit," Spurlock said. "We put a few little wrinkles in at halftime."
"When they went with our motion guy, it left our second guy wide open on a slant," said Commerce native Jimmy Dushane, now head coach at Fox. "He set it up really well and we were able to capitalize on it."
Over the next three minutes the Green team responded with a 71-yard, nine-play drive to tie the score.
Timberlake quarterback Teague Burkes found fellow Timberlake teammate Nick Cash open on four pass plays for 58 yards to ignite the Green drive.
After stalling at the Gold 14-yard line, Timberlake running back Ethan Olson scored on a 4th-and-10 run with 7:50 showing on the clock.
A conversion pass from Laverne's Seth King to Pond Creek-Hunter's Trevor Kimmell was dropped to create a 6-6 tie.
"When we held them on the extra point, we knew we might get one more shot to go down and score," Spurlock said. "To our credit, we had a couple of kids (quarterback Chris Bowles of Temple and tight end Rodney Robinson of Grandfield) step up and make one big, big fourth down plays."
The Bowles-to-Robinson combo ignited an eight-play drive that covered 66 yards over a four-minute span.
Robinson (6-0, 176) kept the drive alive on a fourth-and-6 call from the Green 38-yard line. He snared a Bowles pass and ran 36 yards before being hauled down at the 2-yard line by Pond Creek-Hunter's Trevor Donnell.
"We called the tight end dump to Rodney and he made a great catch in traffic," Spurlock said. "Bowles threaded the needle to get the ball in there."
Robinson culminated the drive on a 10-yard touchdown slant with 2:29 left in the game.
The two-point conversion run by Bowles was stopped as the Gold maintained a 12-6 lead.
"Earlier in the game we had run the same slant pattern to Robinson," Spurlock said. "But, we wound up dropping the pass because it was a little behind him."
An indication of just how even the two teams were was the fact that the Green team generated 170 yards (30 rushing and 140 passing) in total offense while the Gold team managed 169 yards (84 rushing and 85 passing).
Langston led the Gold ground game with 66 yards and seven carries while Eddie Brown of Temple added 12 yards on three carries.
Bowles completed 5 of 11 passes for 62 yards and one TD while Langston hit 2 of 4 passes for 23 yards and a touchdown for the Gold.
With the three catches for 55 yards, Robinson led the Gold receiving corps while Joe Ready of Cashion had two receptions for 23 yards.
Olson paced the Green ground game with 17 yards on two carries and one touchdown while Brad Gordon of Cherokee added 17 yards on six carries and Burkes contributed 16 yards on seven carries.
Bond connected on 9 of 12 passes for 82 yards and an interception while Burkes hit 4 of 7 for 58 yards for the Green team.
Wide receiver Ricky Holba of Morrison led the Green receivers with six catches for 49 yards and Cash added four receptions for 58 yards.
Brandon Perkins of Fox led the Gold defense with five unassisted tackles and four assists. Both Kenneth Hill Jr. of Dewar and Thomas Lucero of Midway each contributed five solo tackles and two assists.
Kellan Hohmann of Deer Creek-Lamont led the Green defensive effort with five solo tackles and seven assists.
Gold 12, Green 6
Gold 0 0 0 12 - 12
Green 0 0 0 6 - 6
Gold - Beloncik 4 pass from Langston (pass failed), 10:44
Green - Olson 14 run (pass failed), 7:50
Gold - Robinson 10 pass from Bowles (run failed). 2:29
First downs 7 12
Rushes-yards 30-84 39-30
Passing yards 85 140
Return yards 41 9
Pass Com-Att-Int 7-15-0 13-20-1
Punts-avg 5-40.2 2-46.5
Fumbles-lost 1-1 6-0
Penalties-yards 3-20 6-25
Rushing - Gold, Langston 7-66, Brown 3-12, Keaton 4-10, Fulton 1-3, Kilcrease 1-3, Haake 1-(-2), Seaton 6-(-4), Bowles 7-(-4). Green, Gordon 6-17, Olson 2-17, Burkes 7-16, Holba 5-3, Kallenberger 1-3, Lebeda 1-(-5), Bond 15-(-21).