PUTNAM CITY – Omar Barker’s interception return for a touchdown Friday night in Putnam City cut the tension as Owasso secured home field advantage in the playoffs.
On that wild play, the Rams took a four-score lead with less than a minute left in the third quarter and kept the Putnam City North Panthers at bay in the regular-season finale.
The Rams won 41-7 and will host a 6AI-1 opponent next week at Owasso Stadium.
“I’m happy we’ll have another home game,” defensive lineman Matt Lohr said. “As a senior, that means the world to me.”
Playoff matches have not been determined.
Owasso (6-4 overall, 5-2 district) has won five of the last six games.
The Rams entered Friday’s game needing to win by 14 points in order to claim second place in the district. They took that 14-point lead with 8:35 left in the third quarter after coming back from a 7-0 deficit.
The Panthers scored first, a pick-six on Owasso’s second possession. It was the first big strike of the game by either defense, but it would not hold up to the remarkable effort posted by Bobby Klinck’s Ram defense from start to finish in this crucial district game.
Owasso responded with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Will Kuehne (14 of 27, 165 yards, 2 TDs) to Mario Kirby. The Rams failed on the two-point conversion attempt but took a 13-7 lead on an Isaiah Jacobs run late in the first quarter.
Jacobs carried the ball 24 times and gained 185 rushing yards. He also scored twice, providing a massive performance on a night when the stakes were high.
The Rams went up 20-7 in the first half as the defense thrived by forcing three punts and recovering a pair of fumbles. Duece Mayberry even blocked a field goal attempt right before halftime that sent the sideline into pandemonium.
By the time Barker nabbed his interception, the Panthers had more trouble with the Rams than they could handle. It was maybe the most efficient game of the year for the defensive secondary.
The Panthers were held to 204 total yards of offense and only 11 first downs.
“Omar made the other team quit when he made that play,” defensive back Tristan Profit said. “They didn’t want to play after that.”
Defensive end Haydon Grant was also heavily involved in that play. He pressured Putnam City North quarterback Aaron Norment for force an errant throw.
“My assignment (on Omar’s pick) was just an outside rush,” Grant said. “Get the pressure, let the secondary do the rest.
“We did a lot of one-on-one individual drills to work on the pass rush. Me, Dilly and Curtis, we just make everyone better every day. We were all head hunting tonight, going after it and having fun.”
It was a rough night for any coaches who preach pace of play. Owasso accrued more penalty yards (145) than Putnam City North did passing yards (141).