As the ball soared over the receiver’s head, Collin Matteson reached up and pulled it in.
The junior’s fourth-quarter interception helped seal the Oklahoma Christian School football team’s 19-13 win against Community Christian on Friday night in Edmond.
OCS (10-0) did not score in the second half, but defensive plays like Matteson’s secured the third-round 2A playoff win for the Saints.
CCS (9-3) narrowed OCS’s lead to six on its first second-half drive, but the Royals came up empty the rest of the game despite four trips deep into OCS territory.
OCS coach Brooks Stephenson said he can’t be proud enough of the Saints defense.
“They rose up, met the challenge, (did a) really good job,” Stephenson said. “Our defensive line, can’t say enough about them, too. (Junior lineman) Gage Gilchrist, seemed like he was in the backfield all night long. A hard-fought win, and I’m just proud we’re going on to the next round.”
OCS scored on three of its first four offensive drives. Senior running back Peyton McIntire capped off the Saints’ opening drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
Denver Wilson threw two touchdown passes. Matteson caught the first for 49 yards, and McIntire caught the second for 20 yards. Both were screen passes.
The Royals’ defensive front was aggressive all night, but the Saints burned them with the screens. Wilson said that was the plan going in.
“They were a very aggressive team,” Wilson said. “They brought their seven in the box and so, it was whenever we found an opportunity that they were either blitzing or they were just getting aggressive, we just took it on them and threw those screen passes.”
Despite the Saints’ success early in the game, OCS failed to score the rest of the way. OCS recorded three first downs in the second half.
Early in the fourth quarter, the snap sailed over CCS junior quarterback Boyce McIntosh’s head. He had to fall on the ball at his own 13, giving the Saints excellent field position. The Saints lost yardage on the resulting drive and turned it over on downs at the 21.
Despite the offense’s struggles, the defense stepped up in key moments. OCS forced four turnovers on downs in the second half before Matteson’s interception allowed OCS to run out the clock. All four fourth down stops came inside the OCS 30-yard line.
Matteson said the defense played well when it needed to in the second half.
“Still stuff to clean up, and we’ll get it cleaned up,” Matteson said. “You have nights like that, and our defense came in clutch.”
OCS is moving on to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2017 when the Saints were in 3A. OCS, 2A-1 district champion, will face 2A-6 champions Eufaula. The location of the game is yet to be decided.