A day earlier, Adair Head Coach Mark Lippe told his players the game against Nowata would be an opportunity to show the state what they’re made of.
The Warriors had something to show come game time, defeating the highly-touted Nowata Ironmen 28-21 at home in overtime to remain undefeated.
As play began, at a packed Gene Winfield Stadium, Warriors’ senior quarterback Brady Bradbury and Senior running back Zak Woolman established a run-game, picking up short but steady yardage.
After slowly moving the chains to the Nowata 35-yard-line, The Warriors found themselves in a fourth and long(22) situation. A decision to go for it (and a clutch offensive line) allowed Bradbury to deliver a 30-yard pass to an open Hunter Rosebrough, sophomore wide receiver, in stride up the middle.
Woolman picked up where he left off with a 5-yard run into the end zone with 4:39 to play.
Rosebrough’s hands set up the touchdown, and his leg put points on the board after making good on the extra point.
In similar fashion, Nowata the made good use of the remaining four minutes with heavy running, contributed by three separate running backs.
But it was senior running back Matt Moore’s ground assault which made Warrior defenders appear in slow motion at times.
With 47 seconds left in the quarter, from 20 yards out, Moore found a hole through the middle and put two quick moves on would-be Adair tacklers before scoring an effortless-looking touchdown that capped a 95-yard drive.
The extra point attempt failed.
The second quarter was a stalemate.
Both offenses moved the ball, and both defenses bent without breaking.
Adair led 7-6 at halftime.
When the battle resumed, Adair forced the Ironmen to punt after two short series.
When the Warriors got their turn, the offense put on the “Bradbury-Woolman” show, a short, five-play act where the curtain closed after a pass from Bradbury gave Woolman the spotlight via a touchdown from six yards out.
With 7:46 left, Rosebrough found the center of the upright, giving Adair a 14-6 lead.
Senior Nowata running back Tyler Lewis made his own statement on the ensuing punt, blasting his way through Adair’s punt team near their 35-yard-line before Bradbury’s tackle stopped what looked to be a certain score.
However, Nowata sophomore running back River Crocket wasn’t kept out of the end zone with 3:27 left to play.
Nowata sophomore quarterback Wyatt Steigerwald put two more points on the board with a keeper, tying the game heading into the fourth.
Early in the fourth, the Warriors found themselves pinned back within their own 10-yard-line.
After three futile attempts to pick up a first down, Adair needed five yards on fourth down at their 15-yard-line. A bold, yet risky decision to fake the punt paid off when Bradbury found the yardage needed.
Nowata seized back momentum later in the drive with a fumble recovery from a low snap that Bradbury couldn’t hold on to.
A few plays later, Moore looked like Moses parting the red sea when he broke two tackles up the middle in an instant from 23 yards out.
With 7:22 to play, Nowata led 21-14.
Woolman responded with his own running skills on display, returning the punt to Nowata’s 31 yard line.
Whatever Bradbury wanted to say about the Ironmen seizing momentum, he said in a well-placed 29-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Brock Martin, who perfectly timed an athletic leap to get the ball near the goal line.
Bradbury finished the three-play touchdown drive from a yard out with 6:00 on the clock.
Adair junior defensive end Cody Yoder, recovered a Nowata fumble at the 3:34 mark.
At the end of four, the score was tied.
In overtime, Adair drew first blood when Bradbury found sophomore tight end James Eastin at the corner of the end zone.
When Adair’s defense took the field they made the most important stand of the night.
After stopping the Ironmen in their first two attempts, a third resulted in a fumble that Adair quickly seized.
Following the game, Lippe spoke his fired up team near the end zone.
“We said this week that we wanted to play with enthusiasm, not emotion,” Lippe said. “ And that’s what we did. It allowed us to think clearly and execute. And look, we tell our kids from the first day that there will be adversity. We coach it from day one, so when our guys get put in a situation, they don’t panic, they respond. We don’t lose our composure and we continue to understand there’s only one play that matters...the next one.”
Adair takes on Chouteau on the road next week.