PONDER — In what was a turnover-filled game for both teams, the Ponder Lions overcame their mistakes to beat the Nocona Indians 42-24 on Friday night.
Ponder had key mistakes in the ball game, but it was the Indians (2-2) who would have the most turnovers. They fumbled six times and lost two, and quarterback Caleb Swofford threw a pair of interceptions. Nocona also allowed more than 200 yards rushing to the Lions.
“Offensively we had that one turnover that hurt us, but you learn a lot of about kids after we came back from that,” Ponder head coach Glen Schuelke said. “We played really well offensively. I was really pleased by that.”
Though the Lions made their impact in the running game, quarterback Brady Anderson had two quick passing touchdowns to receiver Dustin Ferguson for an early 14-0 lead. Fumbles by Nocona allowed great field position, and Trey Dunlap added another Ponder score, giving the Lions a 20-0 lead.
Mistakes by Ponder helped Nocona storm right back with a 9-yard touchdown run by running back John Jennings and a 75-yard fumble return by Jennings, cutting the deficit to 20-16 late in the second quarter.
From the second quarter on, the Lions began the ground game and the Indians couldn’t stop the combination of Dunlap and J.J. Torres. Torres took over for Dunlap, who hurt his toe, and scored a touchdown to give Ponder a 28-16 lead before halftime.
“It’s the ground-and-pound game, that’s what it’s called.” Dunlap said.
In the second half, with Torres out due to nausea, Dunlap powered the running game. He broke a 50-yard run that ultimately put away any hopes the Indians had on trying to make a comeback. Swofford tried to answer back with a promising drive but was picked off. Dunlap and running back Jacob Whited helped close out the game.
The Ponder Lions will host Whitesboro at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Ponder 42, Nocona 24
PN — Ferguson 35 pass from Anderson (DeLeon kick)
PN — Ferguson 84 pass from Anderson (DeLeon kick)
PN — Dunlap 2 yard run (kick failed)
NO — Jennings 9 yard run (2-point conversion good)
NO — Jennings 75 yard fumble return (2-pt conversion good)
PN — Torres 2 yard run (Anderson run)
PN — Dunlap 50 yard run (DeLeon kick)
PN — Whited 1 yard run (DeLeon kick)
NO — West 8 yard pass (2-point conversion good)
Rushing — PO: Trey Dunlap 23-129, Brady Anderson 11-51, J.J. Torres 10-57, Spencer Waldo 1-1, Jacob Whited 8-34; NO: John Jennings 15-84, # 3 5-75, Christian Ibarra 1-(-3).
Passing — PO: Brady Anderson 3-6-0 132, Trey Dunlap 0-1-0 0; NO: Caleb Swofford 9-28-2 98.
Receiving — PO: Dustin Ferguson 2-119, Spencer Waldo 1-13; NO: Tyler O’Neal 1-14, John Jennings 2-31, Cody West 2-15.