What began as a taut defensive battle soon turned into a rout as the Mustangs (2-2) walloped the Cushing Bearkats (1-3) in Class 1A action. The Mustangs dominated every facet of the game in front of the homecoming crowd, scoring on defense as well as special teams.
“It was a big win on a big night,” said head coach/athletic director Arthur “Bo” Talkington. “They worked hard and played well, we’re glad to come away with the win.”
Overton’s offense was paced by a career night for senior quarterback Austin McCasland, who scored three touchdowns while rushing for 161 yards on 14 carries, and also had his best passing game of the season, going 5-for-6 with 89 yards.
“It means a lot to win on homecoming night as a senior,” he said. “The line did a great job up front creating holes and I just tried to make the most of them […] it was a great night.”
“The blocks were there each time,” he said. “I just had to get out into the open, and then it was clear all the way.”
Despite the high-scoring final, at the outset the two teams seemed evenly matched.
After forcing a fumble on the Mustangs opening possession, the Bearkats drew first blood with a three-play 82-yard drive that gave them a 7-0 lead with 7:17 left in the first quarter.
Overton struggled to sustain a drive, punting twice and turning the ball over once, all the while keeping Cushing from threatening to score.
But the Mustangs found paydirt after a 10-play 80-yard drive late in the second quarter.
Set up by big gains on the ground by juniors Jesse Roach and K.J. Luster, it was McCasland darting off-tackle for the score to narrow the lead 7-6 with 5:07 left in the half.
On the ensuing possession Cushing went three-and-out, and was forced to kick away. Hawkins made them pay, taking the kick near mid-field and going the distance to up Overton’s lead to 12-7 with 3:00 left before halftime.
Cushing tried to spark their offense but was roughly met by a determined Mustang defense. Bearkat ballcarriers tried to power inside, but were driven back by junior linebackers Greg Moore and Austin Cook. Outside runs were hemmed in by defensive backs Hawkins, Derek Graham, and Da’Corian Ford.
With time running out in the half Cushing was forced to go for it on fourth down, but their hopes were dashed when Roach Bearkat quarterback Brooks Robey in the backfield for a loss of three and turnover on downs.
Coming back from the break, Overton started to extend its lead.
Excellent defensive stops by ends Kenneth Williams and Aden Williams resulted in yet another three-and-out, giving the Mustang offense excellent field position and momentum.
Sophomore fullback Jamal Kelly slashed through the Cushing defensive line before powering through for his first score on the night. The conversion was good and with 7:00 left in the third quarter Overton led 20-7.
After holding the Bearkats to three-and-out once more, this time it was McCasland imposing his will, breaking an arm-tackle in the backfield before galloping 42 yards for the score. The conversion failed and Overton now led 26-7.
Later, a fumble return for a touchdown gave Cushing hope but it was dashed on the next series, with McCasland scoring his second touchdown, this time from 14 yards out. Hawkins picked up the conversion and with 7:09 left in the game the Mustangs led 34-14.
On the ensuing kickoff junior Tre Thompson put an exclamation point on a solid performance, delivering a crushing blow to Bearkat kick returner Kelon Fitzgerald. Superb defensive stops by Damion Dennis, Mario Gomez and Dylan Sigler forced Cushing to punt for the sixth time.
Kelly powered the Mustangs back into scoring territory, on one run carrying most of the Cushing defense on his back thirty yards,
Junior quarterback K.J. Luster looked sharp in relief for McCasland, evading defenders for runs of 5 and 7 yards, firing tight spirals to Hawkins and Dennis for consecutive first downs.
From four yards out Luster hit Dennis over the middle for a touchdown to give Overton a 42-14 lead with 1:43 left.
As seconds continued to tick away, the Mustang defense dropped back into a prevent, though sophomore defensive end T.J. Lewis continued harassing the Bearkat signal-caller.
Under pressure to throw, the pass was intercepted by Hawkins at the 20 who took it the length of the field for the final score of the night.
After this week’s homecoming win Overton comes back next week for the official re-dedication of Coach Chester Roy Stadium against (2-2) Class 2A opponent Sabine.