Tulsa Union grinds out win
The Tulsa Union Redskins have a first-class kicker to go with their seeming army of major collegelevel football prospects.
Noah Rauschenberg booted four field goals Saturday, helping the 6A Division I champion Redskins grind past archrival Broken Arrow 26-15 in both teams’ season openers.
An ESPN television audience and estimated 10,000 spectators in BA’s Memorial Stadium saw the No. 1 Redskins extend their mastery over the third-ranked Tigers. Union won its 12th straight in the series, which it leads 37-9 overall, including a 34-1 mark since 1989.
Rauschenberg, a junior, kicked field goals of 37, 24, 31, and 35 yards, and gave the Redskins the edge in a game dominated by both defenses. He hit every time the Redskins bogged down in Tigers territory.
“We had to have him today,” Redskins coach Kirk Fridrich said. “We talk about scoring in the red zone and having a guy who can do that is definitely a weapon.”
Rauschenberg also boomed his kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks, forcing the Tigers to start six possessions from their 20-yard line. His only field goal miss was a 50-yarder in the final minute when the issue was decided.
University of Oklahoma commit Jordan Kelley had two sacks and joined linebacker Braden Spicer in leading a defense that held the Tigers to 199 yards of total offense.
On each of his sacks, the 6-foot-3, 293-pound Kelley needed only one powerful hand on the jersey of Broken Arrow quarterback Lafayette Wright before slinging him to the turf like a rag doll.
“Grab ‘em and throw ‘em down,” Kelley said with a grin for the television cameras afterward.
Broken Arrow’s defense was equally stellar. The Tigers held explosive CJ Moore in check, but AK Wilson picked up the slack. He caught nine passes for 81 yards and scooted 30 yards with a handoff from Peyton Thompson for the game’s first score.
Wilson started left before cutting back to the middle and scored down the right sideline off a block by Keviyon Cooper, who later scored on a 12-yard run.
Broken Arrow’s defense, led by senior lineman Derrick Shaw, kept the Tigers in the game, even when they trailed 17-0 on Cooper’s run and seemed bent on self-destruction.
The Tigers were flagged 12 times, mostly on an assortment of false starts and illegal formations. A shanked punt set up Cooper’s TD.
“The good news,” Broken Arrow coach David Alexander said, “is that we’ve got a really, really good football team when we stop shooting ourselves in the foot. We looked like a team that had been in pads five days and had two new coordinators (Jay Wilkinsin and Travis Hill).”
Tulsa Union’s AK Wilson (8) is tackled by Broken Arrow’s Zach Marcheselli (24) and Mykles Slusher (9), at Broken Arrow’s Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Broken Arrow running back Noah Cortes (6) tries to run past a diving tackle attempt by Union OLB Cade Brown (2) at Broken Arrow’s Memorial Stadium on Saturday.