by Jordyn Woodward, Assistant Sports Editor
The tension was high on Saturday night as the OBU Bison battled a 14-point gap through three overtimes, ending in a 2-point victory over the East Central University Tigers at 36-34.
Following the recent loss to Southeast Oklahoma State University, the Bison came in to this game determined to redeem themselves.
“You have to put the loss behind you, learn from it and put all your focus into the next game”, middle linebacker Levi Jennings said. “We were focused on going to Ada and getting a win; taking it one game at a time.”
Coach Chris Jensen narrowed the game-to-game focus even further.
“Our focus all week has been to make one play at a time,” Jensen said. “It was a pretty even ball game. The kids believed and the players believed.”
The first quarter opened with what appeared to be a grave repeat of last week. ECU defense produced an OBU turnover, placing the ball at the OBU 21-yard line.
The Tigers finished the drive with a 7-yard pass play to receive the only touchdown of the first half.
With 5:44 remaining in the third quarter, ECU saw another pass play, this time for 37 yards, to put the score up 14-0.
The Bison quickly answered with a drive of seven plays in 57 yards.
With passes of 15 and 18 yards from Dez Stegall to Cagney Roberson, the Bison landed on the ECU 3-yard line.
Isaiah Mallory completed the drive, plunging into the end zone to place the Bison down just seven points.
OBU tied the game with 14:06 left in the fourth quarter, as Stegall passed to Josh Pettijohn, who had managed to get so open that he was able to juggle the ball for five yards before running unscathed into the ECU end zone.
Trey Tully added the tying point with a successful kick for the PAT.
The Bison received their first lead in the game when Mallory outran the defense down the sideline for the longest scoring run of the OBU season with 86 yards.
The Tigers came back with a touchdown pass to tie the score 21-21 with 9:41 left in the game.
They then took back the lead with just 3:37 left on the clock in another touchdown pass play.
The Bison were not willing to give up the fight, tying the score just a minute later with a 26-yard Stegall-to-Pettijohn touchdown pass resulting in overtime.
The first overtime led to double overtime as the ECU kicker missed a 24-yard field goal and the Bison drive ended in a fumble.
The second overtime resulted in missed field goals on both sides of the field.
ECU appeared to have the win when Je’Qualon Wright scored from 25 yards for a 34-28 lead.
However, a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct forced a failed play from the OBU 18.
OBU tied the score 34-34 with a quarterback sneak following a 10-yard run by Mallory and a 13-yard Stegall to Alex Lewis pass.
Stegall found Gilbert in the end zone for the two-point conversion and the win.
Mallory, Stegall and Pettijohn highlighted the OBU offense.
Mallory rushed for an average of 8.7 yards per carry, Stegall passed for 211 yards and completed 20 of his 31 passes and Pettijohn had six receptions and two touchdowns.
Jennings and Dennis Nguyen led the defense with Jennings racking up 15 tackles and Nguyen contributing 9, including four tackles for loss.
Looking toward their upcoming game against the University of Arkansas, Jennings said, “We just have to execute. We have a great game plan. All we have to do is trust it and have fun.”
He said, “I want [our fans] to know that we appreciate them for every game they come to support. “They make us a better team.”