LOCUST GROVE, OK —
Locust Grove captured its first district title in 21 years Friday night, crushing Lincoln Christian 80-41 on senior night to improve to 9-0.
“(Being district champions) sounds pretty good. These kids just played their tails off and that’s kind of been our deal all year. Just play hard and play hard and play hard, and it pays off,” LG head coach Matt Hennesy said.
In 1992, running back Jeremy Hooker led the Pirates to a district championship. The 2013 Pirates are carried by senior running back Cory Rohde. Rohde has rushed for at least 100 yards in five straight games. Rohde left the Pirate fans in awe Friday night tallying up 424 total yards and seven rushing touchdowns, including 397 yards on the ground.
“I could have got three more yards to get the 400 yards, but it’s alright,” Rohde said of his rushing performance.
The apple must not fall too far from the tree in the player-coach logic for head coach Matt Hennesy and his top offensive weapon.
“He should have got three more yards,” Hennesy laughingly said of Rohde’s night. “He’s such a tough kid and we know it ... We were actually able to rest him just a little bit on defense, but he plays defense all the time too. He’s a tough kid and it’s just the things he does, the things [quarterback] Mason [Fine] did tonight, the whole team just played well. Our whole offense was clicking all night.”
The Locust Grove offense put up obscene numbers, producing 707 yards and finding the end zone on 10 occasions. Thirty-four of the offense’s points came in the first 12 minutes, but the Pirates led Lincoln Christian by just 14 after the first quarter.
The Legion of Doom shut out the Bulldogs in the second quarter, however, and Locust cruised into the locker room with a 56-20 lead.
Locust Grove continued its dominance in the second half, outscoring Lincoln 24-21. Senior captain Traden Sokoloski forced a turnover in three quarters: a fumble recovery in the first and interceptions in the second and third quarters. He returned the last interception for a touchdown, his second pick-six of the year.
Juniors Vance Wilson and Dustin Remer recovered fumbles and sophomore Cutter Stamper intercepted a pass of his own in the third. The Legion of Doom ended the night with seven turnovers, but gave up 41 points in its third straight game.
“I’m not worried about [the defense giving up over 40 points three straight games]. When you’re winning by 40 does it really matter that you gave up 40?” Hennesy said.
Rohde was not the only key behind the Pirates’ 80 points. Fine threw for three scores and 273 yards on 16 completions. All of Fine’s touchdowns came in the first half and two of them were thrown to sophomore Jason Pirtle. Pirtle ended his night with three catches for 97 yards before being injured in the third quarter. Hennesy said Pirtle separated his shoulder on a kickoff return and hopes he’ll be back on the field next week.
The Pirates will travel to Keys next week for their final district game with a chance at a perfect regular season for the first time in school history. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday night.