GROVE- The Grove Ridgerunners wasted no time jumping on the Tahlequah Tigers on Senior Night.
Running back Buck Maples had five touchdowns in the first half, including four during a five-minute stretch in the first quarter, as the Ridgerunners cruised to a 41-13 win in the regular season finale for both teams.
Maples ran for 135 yards on 13 carries, all in the first half, as Grove (7-3, 5-2), scored on five of their first six possessions of the game.
Jimmy Roach got the Ridgerunners going early. After the Tigers (2-7, 1-6) went three and out on the game's first possession, Roach took a short Jared Bush punt and raced 46 yards to the Tiger 11-yard line. Maples scored three plays later from two yards out for the game's first points.
The Ridgerunners then pulled a trick play out of the hat, booting an onside kick that Grove recovered at the Tahlequah 47.
Two plays later, quarterback Adam Steffenson found Maples over the middle for a 30-yard gain on a third and nine. Maples then ran it in for his second touchdown of the night from 22 yards out on the next play for a 14-0 lead.
After Tahlequah turned the ball over on downs near midfield on their next possession, Maples dashed 47 yards down the sideline for another score.
Grove would get the ball right back when linebacker Bobby Harris made a diving interception of an A.J. Campbell pass at the Tahlequah 30. After Steffenson found Jerrod Leach with a 21-yard pass completion, Maples finished yet another drive with a touchdown run, this time from four yards out, to make the score 27-0.
The Tigers finally got on the board on their next possession thanks in part to a Grove turnover. After the Tigers went three and out, Bush's low punt was fumbled, and Tahlequah's Charles Mounce was there for the recovery at the Grove 37. Ten plays later, Campbell took a bobbled snap and broke a tackle at the goal line for a four-yard touchdown run.
Maples would answer for Grove with a 25-yard touchdown run on the Ridgerunners next possession for a 34-7 lead.
With both teams keeping the ball on the ground for most of the second half, the final two quarters went by quickly. The Ridgerunners scored early in the fourth quarter on a five-yard run by Trent Phillips. Tahlequah got a touchdown on their final possession of the game when Mason McMillan scored from two yards out as time expired.
McMillan led the Tigers with 50 yards on 13 carries, as Tahlequah finished the season with their fifth straight loss.
With little drama in Friday's game, the only suspence of the night was where the Ridgerunners would play their first round playoff game next week. That was decided when Tulsa Washington blew out McAlester 49-18, clinching the District 5A-3 title. The Buffaloes finished second in the district with the loss and will host Grove next Friday.
Grove 41, Tahlequah 13
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Grove 27 7 0 7 41
Tahlequah 0 7 0 6 13
Total 391 162
Rushes-Yards 37-228 37-100
Passing 163 62
C-A-I 9-16-1 7-17-1
First Downs 13 9
Penalties 8-56 4-35
Turnovers 3 (1 int, 2 fumbles) 1 (int)
RUSHING: GHS - Maples 13-135, A. Steffenson 6-59, B. Steffenson 11-27, Phillips 1-5, Ryser 2-1, Leach 2-3, Harris 1-(-8). THS - McMillan 13-50, Campbell 9-16, Harris 6-14, Bush 8-13, Downs 1-7.
PASSING: GHS - A. Steffenson 9-15-1int-163 yards. Phillips 0-1-0. THS - Campbell 7-17-1int-62 yards.
RECEIVING: GHS - Maples 2-38, Leach 1-32, Crossley 1-22, Leffel 1-19, Young 1-35, Scott 2-16, Summerfield 1-12. THS - Poole 1-17, Harris 1-12, Bush 1-14, Dry 1-9, Lamb 1-7, Elam 1-3, Hadley 1-0.
9:19 GHS Maples 2-yd run (Krause kick) GHS 7-0.
8:33 GHS Maples 22-yd run (Krause kick) GHS 14-0.
5:31 GHS Maples 47-yd run (kick blocked) GHS 20-0.
4:20 GHS Maples 4-yd run (Krause kick) GHS 27-0.
11:25 THS Campbell 4-yd run (Bush kick) GHS 27-7.
9:00 GHS Maples 25-yd run (Krause kick) GHS 34-7.
7:42 GHS Phillips 5-yd run (Krause kick) GHS 41-7.
0:00 THS McMillan 2-yd run (No kick) GHS 41-13.