Cortes, Tigers move closer to goals
EDMOND — Broken Arrow running back Noah Cortes has never really used the Tigers' record book as a motivator. On Friday night, leading up to a cross-state drive and a matchup between undefeated teams with a district lead on the line, he had enough motivation.
Now, that didn't mean after the convincing 35-7 victory over Edmond Santa Fe was in hand and the Tigers sat alone atop 6AI-1, that Cortes didn't know exactly where he stood — alone in second place and within striking distance of the all-time rushing record.
“That's one of my dreams: To beat the record,” Cortes said.
Cortes finished with 119 yards and one touchdown. Sitting at 3,511 career rushing yards, Cortes is just 383 yards from the record — with three regular season games to play.
Two weeks ago, Cortes set a school record with six touchdowns against Norman, and already eclipsed 300 yards in a game this season. Facing a physical Edmond Santa Fe team, Broken Arrow (7-0, 4-0 6AI-1) leaned on Cortes and its physical identity early to stake itself to a 35-0 lead.
“We just had to go to the last whistle every play and 100 percent to the last whistle when the clock ran out,” Cortes said. “… We just had to stay consistent in Broken Arrow 7 14 7 7 — 35 Edmond Santa Fe 0 0 0 7 — 7 BA: Noah Cortes 5 run (Skyler Segraves kick)
BA: Bryce Mattioda 1 fumble return (Segraves kick)
BA: Quintevin Cherry 7 run (Segraves kick)
BA: Isaiah Keller 27 pass from Cherry (Segraves kick)
BA: Zach Marcheselli 4 run (Segraves kick)
EDS: Tyler Travis 16 run (Edgar Rivas kick) it and keep doing what we were doing.”
Broken Arrow missed out on its first shutout in three years after a late touchdown by No. 4 Edmond Santa Fe (6-1, 3-1) but still continued its best start in 21 years.
“We stay as a whole,” Broken Arrow cornerback Aaron “Tricky” Stokes said. “We bend but don't break. All the adversity, just stay as one and finish through every game.”
Stokes, who was given his Run DMC-based nickname from his late grandmother, helped lead a defensive effort that kept Edmond Santa Fe from any momentum and made big plays of its own, including a defensive touchdown coming off his own interception.
Top-ranked Broken Arrow won its seventh straight game following the same formula that has the Tigers in position for their first state championship.
“We want to play physical,” coach David Alexander said. “We want to play fast. … That's who we are. … We're physical, and it kind of wore them out in the second half.”
Receiver Matt Kaiser also climbed in the record books. With 38 yards Friday, he moved into second place in career receiving yards, currently 461 yards behind the record.
Broken Arrow hasn't gone undefeated since 1954, but with just three games left against teams that had a combined one district win heading into Friday night, that goal is within reach.
“We're the best in the state,” Cortes said. “We just have to stay humble and not be too high. We just have to keep doing what we're doing, and we're going to get that Gold Ball, for sure.”