(Bristow) – Cushing opened the 2009 season against the same opponent they have opened with for years. And although the score appears to have been a bit lopsided, 27-6, the Tigers showed improvement over a year ago.
The Purple Pirates scored on their first possession and led throughout, however, the Tigers were able to keep it close.
Blake Murray scored on a one yard quarterback keeper for the Tigers only score of the game. Despite the lack of scoring, there were bright spots for the Tigers.
One of the encouraging signs was the play of Murray, who started at quarterback. Murray threw for 102 yards, and did not play like a sophomore in his first varsity start. D.J. McKinney added 107 yards. Tyler Farley, a senior, showed up strong a a receiver in his first game as a football player. And Garrett Evans and Murray hooked up for a couple of receptions that give the Tigers something to build on.
On the negative side, there were two plays in particular that put the game out of reach for Cushing, a 65 yard run for a touchdown by Leonard Fullbright, and an interception returned for a TD by Fullbright. Without those two plays, the game would have appeared entirely different heading into the fourth quarter.
Another bright spot for the Tigers, a bit more depth. Last season, Cushing finished with only 21 players ready to suit up for the varsity. The Tigers start this season with 31 players. Coach Lance Hoggatt says that it was difficult to even conduct practice last year, without a full complement of players.
Cushing will host Okmulgee in the home opener on Friday, a 7:30 kickoff at Faye O’Dell Field.