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Ringling throttles Apache, 30-12

APACHE - After scoring two touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the game, Apache was thrown into a tailspin as it coughed up four second-half turnovers and watched Ringling hang 30 unanswered points on the scoreboard in a 30-12 loss.

Last season's early road loss to Ringling (2-1) ended up costing the Warriors a district title. Apache (3-2) couldn't avenge that loss in Friday night's district opener, but Warriors coach Larry McDaniel is well aware there is still plenty of football left to be played. How the Warriors respond in the coming weeks will dictate the A-3 district title, not the loss last night.

"The guys have been in this situation before," McDaniel said. "There are a lot of things that can happen and they'll bounce back. I have no doubt about that."

Ringling fumbled the opening kickoff and Cooper Love pounced on it for the recovery only to get injured and be carried off the field on the stretcher and into an ambulance with a severe leg injury.

"What he does for us in every facet of the game was impacted," McDaniel said. "Our running game became limited. Ringling did a great job exploiting where Cooper would've been. Cooper was such a big part of our game plan, both offensively and defensively."

Without Love, Apache struggled to ignite its offense throughout the game. The only outliers were the first two drives.

Two plays after the fumble recovery, Apache quarterback Landon McCracken wove through the middle of the field on a read option for a 14-yard touchdown run, giving the Warriors a 6-0 lead less than two minutes into the game. McCracken surprisingly struggled, going 9-for-21 for 67 yards, no passing touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior did have eight carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

On the next drive, running back Austin Vail took a pitch and turned it into a gorgeous halfback pass for a 60-yard touchdown as he found a streaking Jaylan Maguire down the visiting sideline. 

"We thought we could exploit those areas," McDaniel said. "We want to diversify our offense with those read plays and we executed them in great fashion."

That made it 12-0 Apache with 5:00 in the first quarter, but it was all downhill from there.

Ringling got on the board by getting new life after the refs threw a questionable personal foul flag in the end zone on a long fourth down pass. The ball appeared to be uncatchable and there was limited contact, but Ringling got a second chance and capitalized as Rhett Longest  who had 28 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns  punched in a 2-yard touchdown run with 5:31 in the second quarter. That made it 12-8 Apache at half.

The Lawton Constitution

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