OWASSO — Senior quarterback Wil Amos put an exclamation point on a stellar high school football career Friday night by leading the Afton Eagles to a 44-12 victory over the Crescent Tigers in the Class A championship game at Owasso Stadium.
Amos (6-2, 185) became only the fourth high school player in Oklahoma playoff history to top the 400-yard rushing mark in a game.
He finished with 418 yards on 38 carries. His Herculean performance also resulted in five touchdowns.
As if running more than four football fields in length wasn't enough, Amos completed 7 of 11 passes for 61 yards with one interception.
He had a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide out Clay Mitchell erased on a holding penalty in the third quarter.
"A lot of people contributed to winning our first-ever state championship," Afton head coach Zach Gardner said. "It wasn't just one guy, but he sure made us look good."
After 31 appearances in the Oklahoma playoffs, including four consecutive trips, the Eagles finished with a perfect 14-0 record.
The Eagles averaged more than 40 points per game in their march to the title.
The Eagles join the 1984 Picher-Cardin Gorillas as the only two teams from the northeastern part of the state to bring home a gold ball.
"There's only been 33 years since a team from northeast Oklahoma had brought back a gold ball," Gardner said. "And these guys just did it."
Concluding his 11th season as head coach of the Eagles, Zach Gardner served as a water boy for the Picher-Cardin team while his father, Randy, was an assistant coach. His dad is also a member of his current staff.
"I kinda told the team that if I knew it was going to be this fun, we should have done this last year," Zach Gardner said. "(It was the) best 48 minutes of our lives right now."
Crescent (14-1) took the opening kickoff and ran smack dab into an Afton defense that remained solid the entire game.
With 5:48 showing on the clock, the Eagles began an 89-yard, 13-play drive in their first possession.
Amos, who had seven carries for 67 yards during the drive, scored on a 5-yard quarterback keeper up the middle at the 2:36 mark. Zach Henry caught the two-point conversion pass from Amos to create an 8-0 Afton lead.
During their first two possessions the Tigers were held in check before Amos displayed his defensive prowess with an interception at the Tigers 5-yard line.
Following a 5-yard run by Henry, Amos ran to the outside for a spectacular 90-yard touchdown run.
The quarterback bulled over for the two-point conversion for a 16-0 Afton margin with 8:21 left in the second quarter.
Crescent received the ensuing kickoff and marched 60 yards in 13 plays to put points on the scoreboard.
Aided by two 15-yard Afton penalties, the Tigers scored on a 6-yard TD run by senior halfback Dylan Emery at the 4-minute mark.
Emery's two-point conversion run was stuffed as the Tigers trailed by a 16-6 deficit.
During Afton's next possession, Amos made a rare mistake by throwing an interception to Crescent safety Jacob Johnson with one minute before halftime.
The Eagles responded in kind with Crescent moving towards the goal line.
Senior cornerback Brett Hollan stepped in front of an errant Hunter Bowers pass and returned it 40 yards to the Crescent 20-yard line.
Running behind the superb blocking of left tackle Seth Miller, left guard Braiden Gaines, center Travis Lukens, right guard Tate Maupin and right tackle Jacob Barton, Amos strung two 10-yard runs together to reach the endzone with just 4 seconds showing before halftime.
Briar Julian's two-point conversion run failed as Afton carried a 22-6 lead to the locker room at intermission.
During the first two quarters the Afton defense limited Crescent's high-octane offense to only 21 yards on 17 carries on the ground and 22 yards via the pass. The Eagles turned two interceptions into 14 points.
Receiving the second half kickoff, the Eagles failed to score after Mitchell's touchdown reception was nullified with 8:38 left in the third quarter.
Afton's defense wasn't through with the injured Bowers as tackle Jacob Burton returned the Eagles third interception 5 yards with 5:51 remaining on the clock.
Four plays and 34-yards later, Amos scored on a 15-yard touchdown run. The Amos-to-Henry duo clicked on the two-point conversion pass for a 30-6 Afton lead heading into the final 12 minutes.
Less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Amos forced and recovered a fumble by Emery at the Crescent 7-yard line.
Two plays later Amos was off to the races again as the more than 5,000 fans erupted following his 93-yard TD run.
The Amos-to-Julian combo connected for the two-point conversion pass with 10:47 remaining in the game for a 38-6 Afton margin.
Bowers, playing with an injured left leg, heaved a 42-yard pass to wide receiver Carson Heskett to give the Tigers a scoring opportunity at the Afton 3-yard line.
Halfback Jacob Musil scored on a counter play with 8:40 left on the clock. The two-point conversion pass from Bowers sailed over Heskett's outstretched arms for a 38-12 deficit.
"Secondary wise, they tried all night to pick on us," Gardner said. "But, we finished with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries so I think we played very well."
With time winding down, the Eagles recovered an onsides kick attempt at the Crescent 49-yard line.
Six plays later Amos scored on a 13-yard run with 4:38 remaining in the game. His two-point conversion run was stopped for a 44-12 score.
Afton's ground game finished with 440 yards on 48 carries for an average of 9.2 yards per touch.
Hollon led the Eagles receiving corps with three catches for 27 yards while Julian had two receptions for eight yards, Ryan Williams one for 23 yards and Brett Fuser one for 5 yards.
Afton's defense forced three interceptions, made two fumble recoveries, deflected six passes and posted five quarterback hurries.
Crescent's ground game earned 112 yards on 30 carries led by Emery with 73 yards on nine carries. Musil contributed 62 yards on 14 attempts.
Bowers, who was sacked four times for minus-23 yards, completed 10 of 20 passes for 98 yards with three interceptions.
Heskett led the Tigers with five receptions for 60 yards while Emery made three catches for 19 yards and Trystin Roles two catches for 19 yards.
"Several things went our way," Gardner said. "The kids played hard, but it's easy to call the plays behind the execution of the kids just getting it done."
After the game during the trophy presentation, Gardner made the following address to his team:
"This is not a sad moment for our seniors because there is no better way for you to go out than the way you went out tonight," Gardner said.