Using some big plays and taking advantage of six first half turnovers from Vernon, the Bulldogs carried a 35-0 lead into the intermission.
“Last year was the same thing, it looked kind of familiar,” Altus High Head Coach Lyn Hepner said. “This Vernon team was tougher. They were giving us a pretty good tussle for a while. To answer your question, after seeing how they were playing, we were fortunate to be there.
The AHS offense sputtered on its first two possessions but a special team play by senior Bob Laub got the Bulldogs going. Laub fielded a Vernon punt and started right. He shifted back to the left to avoid two would-be tackles and then broke another tackle. He headed down the sideline and then finished off a 60 punt return for a touchdown.
“It was awesome,” Hepner said. “The guy finds another gear. You look at him and you don’t think he could be that fast.” Michael Perez kicked the extra point and Altus led 7-0 with 6:10 left in the first period.
The second score was also set up by the special teams. Vernon mishandled a rainbow kick on the kickoff. Ryan James fell on the ball and Altus started from the Lions 33 yard line.
It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to score. On the next play junior quarterback threw look in pass to Laub who in turn tossed Diquon Woodhouse with the old hitch and pitch play. Woodhouse raced into the end zone untouched. That gave Altus two scores within a span of 12 seconds. Perez added another extra point and the Bulldogs led 14-0.
The scores then came rapidly. Garrett Smith spelling Woodhouse at tailback ran four yards for a touchdown.
Bradley Cox caught a 19 yard aerial for score. Nortonen later found Laub on the go route for a touchdown.
“Bob was calling the touchdown, the go route,” Hepner said. “He kept coming to the sideline and calling for it.”
The Bulldogs could have scored another one late in the second period, however they fumbled on Vernon’s one yard line.
Vernon avoided a shutout in the fourth quarter when they scored on the Altus reserves. John Parker threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Leroy Daniels.
You can’t say enough about the Altus defense led by James, linebacker Tyler George and a host of others.
When the first defensive unit left the game in the third quarter, Vernon had only two first downs and a minus nine yards rushing.
They forced seven turnovers. Woodhouse had two interceptions, while George and Laub had one pick each. James, George and Smith all had fumble recoveries.
“You can’t say enough about the defense,” Hepner said. “I can’t say enough about our coaches and the game plan they had. This is new offense they had. The spread, the no huddle. They had us out of our comfort zone. I can’ say enough about our coaching staff offensively and defensively. They do so much that people don’t realize. Their a great staff.”
The staff now has a challenge to make their players forget about this game, and get ready for Lawton Eisenhower next week.
“Exactly! Lawton Ike is a different animal. You celebrate until you get to the bus and then you start thinking about the next game,” Hepner said.
Game notes: The game was delayed 20 minutes due to an injury to Vernon’s Dillon Perez. He suffered a neck injury and had to be taken off the field by an ambulance. A Vernon assistant coach said after the game he should be okay. He was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
How They Scored
Altus – Laub 60 yard punt return (Perez kick), 6:10, 1st qtr., 7-0, Altus
Altus – Woodhouse 33 pass from Nortonen (lateral from Laub) (Perez kick), 5:58, 1st qtr., 14-0, Altus
Altus – Smith 4 run (Perez kick), 9:12, 2nd, qtr, Altus, 21-0
Altus – Cox 19 pass from Nortonen, (Perez kick), 2:43, 2nd qtr., Altus 28-0
Altus – Laub 32 pass from Nortonen (Perez kick), 1:21, 2nd qtr.
Vernon – Daniels 23 pass from Parker,( Escobar kick), 10:30, 4th qtr., Altus 35-7
Nortonen 6-7; Furlough 7-19; Woodhouse 1-19; George 7-34; G. Smith 4-38, 1TD; Gonzales 2-5; Lenoir 4-12; Ford 3-10; D. Smith 4-14; Maldonado 2-3
Nortonen 7-8-132, 3TDs
Laub 3-61, 1TD; Woodhouse 0-28-1 TD; Chandler 2-24; Cox 1-19, 1TD.
Perez 4-4 PAT; 0-1 field goal; 6-36.1 punting
Fumble recoveries – James, Smith, George
Interceptions – Woodhouse 2, George, Smith
Urquizo 3 - (-31); Butler 12-43: Rogers 3-(-14); Clifton 1- (-5) Thomas 2-33
Uriquizo 2-13-7, 3INTs; Rogers 0-4-0; McNair 0-3 1INT; Parker 7-9, 1TD
Butler 2- (-1); Homes 2-3; Thomas 1-7; Daniels 5-64, 1TD; Smithson 1-1
Perez 4 punts 38.9 average
Escobar 1-1 PAT