They were worn out, the Cushing football Tigers, following a wild victory on Friday.
But they were in the mood to celebrate.
“It was a crazy game,” wide receiver and defensive back England Honeybuss said. “That’s what ‘48 All Guts’ means. You’ve got to play 48 minutes.
“Not many teams can do it.”
Cushing on Friday was not out of harm’s way for 46 minutes and 44 seconds. Then Alphonso Devers got involved.
He stepped in front of Demon wide receiver Nathan Ross on the Cushing sideline and came up with a difficult pass interception.
The party was on.
“You talk about getting second chances,” Cushing head coach Barrett Shupe said. “We had a young man cash in at the biggest moment,
“I am so thankful we — players and coaches — put trust in every kid no matter what your past is. He’s got a heart of gold.”
Devers and Shupe said the player had made some bad decisions that, at one point, had him off the team.
His teammates agreed to take him back.
He took advantage of his opportunity.
“That was a special, special moment,” Shupe said of Devers’ interception.
Said Devers: “Coach Yates told us all week — he pounded it down our throats — about them running the come-back route. I knew it was coming.
“I broke it down, got a big play and we got the win.”
The victory pushed Cushing to 4-0 in District 3A-6 and clinched a berth in the Class 3A playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. The Tigers need one more victory to notch their first district title since 1996.
“The district championship is right there,” running back Kory Wiley said after racking up 167 yards and scoring three touchdowns.
“We still have to come and work.”
Not that the Tigers have been taking days off.
“We worked very hard for this one,” Devers said “We have worked hard all season.
“The coaches believe in us and we believe in them.
Cushing is off this week — they played during Zero Week — and has two games left in the regular season. Their opponents — Morris on Oct. 28, at Kellyville Nov. 4 — are a combined 2-13 overall and 0-7 in district play.
Cushing is a full game ahead of three teams tied for second place: Beggs, Bristow and Okmulgee. The Tigers have a head-to-head tiebreaker over each.
In district games while Cushing was beating Beggs, Bristow pummeled Morris 57-0 and Checotah — another loser to Cushing — toppled Kellyville 30-13.
“We’re still gonna practice and work hard like normal,” Tiger senior England Honeybuss said after scoring the touchdown that gave CHS the lead for good.
Honeybuss, one play after Josiah Wright hauled in an 18-yard pass from Kade Holderread for his first touchdown of the season, scooped up a fumble and ran 36 yards to the north end zone for a 28-26 lead.
“It was crazy,” Honeybuss said. “Cory Ryan made a great hit. I saw the ball loose and was able to scoop it up. It was a clear path after that. All green.”
On the Internet
Do not forget about “Tiger Talk,” an Internet show featuring Citizen Managing Editor Jim Perry and Cushing head coach Barrett Shupe or other guests. It can be found at www.cushingcitizen.com.
Cushing’s victory over Beggs put the Tigers in prime position to win the District 3A-6 championship, its first league title in 20 years. Cushing is a game and a half ahead of Beggs, Bristow and Okmulgee — all are 2-1 in 3A-6 — and beaten each in a head-to-head matchup.
Beggs would appear to have the inside track to second place in the league. The Demons are at Okmulgee on Friday and finish the season with home games against Bristow and Checotah.
Both Bristow and Okmulgee play two of their last three games on the road.
Checotah, 4-4 and 2-2, is battling for fourth place in 3A-6.
Cushing has climbed as high as No. 5 in the Class 3A ratings. The Tigers are sixth in the Tulsa World Top 10 but No. 5 according to both MaxPreps and the Oklahoman.
Cushing is No. 8 in the Vype magazine poll.
Jones remains the consensus No. 1 with Berryhill and Oklahoma City John Marshall sharing the No. 2 spot.
The officiating crew that worked Cushing v. Beggs had its hands full.
Doug Reed’s group assessed 31 penalties for 245 yards. Those are flag accepted.
At least another six or seven were declined.
Cushing got 16 penalties for 125 yards; Beggs 15 for 120.
Lonnie Brickman, referee for the Bristow at Cushing game — when the scoreboard malfunctioned — served as head linesman in Friday’s game.