With the win the Mustangs improve to 1-3 while the Bearkats fall to 0-4.
Mustangs head coach Bo Talkington praised his defense for bending but not breaking, turning away the Cushing offense inside the red zone on three occasions and picking off two passes, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
“The boys have been working hard and getting better each week,” he said. “They’ve battled back time and time again and showed a lot of character.”
But, Talkington added, any celebrations will be short-lived.
“It’s a well-earned victory on their part, they deserve it, and we’re going to enjoy it,” he said. “But we’re going to go back home, study film and go right back to work […] there’s still a lot more football to be played.”
It was a solid night offensively, with Overton rolling up nearly 300 yards for the fourth straight week, but the defense is what brought the Mustangs victory.
Overton’s junior cornerback Tim Hawkins picked off a Cushing aerial, zig-zagging through the Bearkat offense for a 75-yard touchdown.
“I saw the ball come out of his hand and I just tried to make a play on it,” Hawkins said. “But once I got it, I wanted to take it back all the way. My boys made some great blocks and I was able to bring it back.”
The conversion failed and Overton led 6-0 for most of the game.
It was the defense once again that set up the offense in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore linebacker Jesse Roach put the smackdown on Cushing halfback Eric Taylor and knocked the ball loose behind the line of scrimmage. Junior cornerback Tyler Rhodes swooped in to recover the fumble at the Bearkat 36 yard-line.
Mustang quarterback A.J. McCasland mixed up the defense, faking to senior fullback Shelton Rogers and giving to junior halfback Forrest Lee, then faking to Lee and giving to junior halfback Tim Hawkins.
Five plays later it was Hawkins hitting paydirt once again from four yards out. The conversion was successful and Overton put its hoofprints on a 14-0 victory.
McCasland finished with 42 yards on 10 carries and 38 passing yards. Lee led all rushers with 82 yards on 15 carries while Rogers added eight attempts for 59 yards.
“It was a battle, I give full credit to the Cushing coaching staff and players for a well-played game,” Talkington said. “They tested us and the game wasn’t over until the final whistle […] we have a lot of respect for their fine program.”
Senior outside linebacker Alex Meadows finished the game with a career high 16 tackles and a sack, while senior lineman Dylan Lantz stood out with excellent penetration, disrupting numerous plays.
Junior defensive tackle John Blaylock also turned in a strong performance, playing at nose tackle. Sophomore lineman Weston Gillis played well also, with several assisted tackles and a sack.
Overton visits their Class 2A rivals Sabine at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Liberty City.