ALTUS - Ardmore's Nick Weldon and Tyreece Lott broke through the line of scrimmage and dropped Altus quarterback Jake Vargas for a loss, swallowing the Class 5A No. 3 Bulldogs' last chance at victory.
Afterward, Altus coach Todd Vargas couldn't say whether his team had lost the battle in the trenches, or what had exactly gone wrong in a 13-7 loss Friday to fifth-ranked Ardmore at Hightower Stadium.
"There were moments (during the game) we won and there were moments they won," the coach said.
It was that kind of night. For every two or three battles Altus won, two or three were lost.
Trailing 13-0 in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs completed their only scoring drive of the game 69 yards and crept within 13-7 after Noah Villarreal's 1-yard TD run with 4:44 left.
Altus then forced a punt.
A missed point-after attempt by Ardmore earlier meant the door was open for another emotional Altus victory over the Tigers, not unlike the overtime thriller back in 2014.
But Altus' next and final possession was brief, just four plays long.
A battle won, a battle lost.
"They made more plays than us," coach Vargas said. "We struggled on both sides of the ball at certain times, and at certain times both sides of the ball played marvelous.
"We had a chance there at the end and just didn't get it done."
Ardmore's Jordan Roberts led all rushers with 126 yards on 15 carries. He and quarterback Anthony Kimmons, whose 34-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter gave Ardmore a 13-0 lead, presented a big-play tandem that perhaps Altus (5-1, 2-1 District 5A-1) hadn't seen yet this season.
"We didn't tackle very well, didn't tackle well throughout the night. We've got to fix that," Vargas said.
The Tigers (5-1, 3-0 District 5A-1) also brought along stingy defense Altus had just 43 yards of offense at halftime and 170 for the game.
Despite that, Altus trailed just 7-0 after two quarters. It also held Ardmore to 225 total rushing yards, below its average of 321.