BEGGS — Reese Roller and Caden Parnell only started practicing it last week.
But with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter, Verdigris coach Travis East called for the trick play. Roller — the Cardinals’ running back — took the direct snap from center, faking a run and throwing a pop pass over the line to Parnell, who snuck out of the backfield.
There was nobody around to stop him. The catch registered 18 yards and a touchdown, ballooning Verdigris’ lead to three possessions.
“Teams get used to me just running,” said Roller, who tallied 101 rushing yards Friday night. “They never think I’m going to pass it. Then, it just came together.”
It’s a lead the Cardinals would only fortify in the second half, winning 40-6 against Beggs on Friday night. But, the Demons still had their special moment, honoring Rodney Tate before kickoff. Tate, a former running back at Beggs in the 1970s, was surprised by the school who announced the field was being renamed Tate Field in honor of his accomplishments.
People are also reading…
“I didn’t see it coming,” said Tate, surrounded by his class of 1977 teammates who celebrated their 45th anniversary Friday night. “It was a great honor to have a football field named after me. I’m proud of my community, that they would think enough of me to honor me.”
Tate won a state championship with Beggs in 1975 and was a member of the Demons’ 1977 state runner-up team. He played college football at Texas, before spending three years in the NFL split between the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons.
And while the blowout is something Tate — who coached and taught at Beggs for 17 years — might want to forget, he said he’ll remember this night forever.
“To have the class of 1977 and all these guys … that’s what makes it special,” Tate said. “The timing was perfect.”
Tate watched from a grassy hill next to the home grandstands, sitting in a lawn chair with his former teammates and family members. The running back saw Verdigris rush for 210 yards, while the Demons struggled, averaging just 1.25 yards per carry.
Roller rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, all coming from deep inside Beggs’ territory. He was instrumental in extending Verdigris’ offensive drives, often taking direct snaps on third downs to reach the marker.
“It feels nice to have that level of responsibility for the team,” Roller said. “I think it’s just huge in sustaining drives.”
The pop pass and direct snaps were just several of the trick plays the Cardinals used Friday.
“We ran a few trick plays, but we’re not going to live by those,” East said. “We live with how we run the ball and how we execute our offense.”
East was quick to praise his offensive line and “swarming” defense for keeping the momentum in Verdigris’ favor. The Cardinals didn’t allow Beggs to gain a first down until the third quarter, forced two turnovers and held the Demons to 207 yards of total offense.
Beggs’ lone points came on the second play of the game, with quarterback Knox Dyson throwing a quick pass to wide receiver Ryan Grayson who took it 89 yards for a touchdown.
Verdigris quarterback Dylan White scored a rushing touchdown of his own in the first, also passing for a 26-yard touchdown in the third quarter to Dalton Person.
BEG – Grayson 89 pass from Dyson (try failed)
VER – Roller 24 run (kick failed)
VER – White 7 run (Carlson kick)
VER – Roller 1 run (Carlson kick)
VER – Roller 9 run (Carlson kick)
VER – Parnell 18 pass from Roller (kick failed)
VER – Person 26 pass from White (Carlson kick)
First Downs – VER 9, BEG 4; Rushes-Yards – VER 45-210, BEG 31-39; Comp-Att-Int – VER 8-18-1, BEG 8-17-1. Passing Yards – VER 122, BEG 168. Fumbles-Lost VER 1-0, BEG 2-1. Penalty Yards – VER 6-50, BEG 5-33. Total Yards – VER 332, BEG 207. Punts-Avg. – VER 4-34.6, BEG 8-28.9
|BEG – Grayson 89 pass from Dyson (2-point failed)|
|VER – Roller 24 run (kick failed)|
|VER – White 7 run (Carlson kick)|
|VER – Roller 1 run (Carlson kick)|
|VER – Roller 9 run (Carlson kick)|
|VER – Parnell 10 pass from Roller (kick failed)|
|VER – Person 26 pass from White (Carlson kick)|