By Anvil Welch
GROVE, Okla. - Grove, trailing 25-24 in the final minute, utilized the "hitch-and-pitch" to stun Poteau 30-25 on Saturday night in a semifinal of the Oklahoma Class 4A prep football playoffs.
"We ran it in the first two games of the playoffs but it didn't work," said Bret Bouher, the offensive coordinator for Ridgerunner coach Dennis Millican. "We even practice it in junior high."
Darius Hopper, on fourth-and-10 from midfield with 56 seconds remaining, tossed a pass for 4 yards to George Maymi. Maymi then lateraled to Colton Gehrke who rushed to the Poteau 12.
Hopper, with 37 seconds left, hooked up with Corey Davenport for the winning score in a clash of 9-3 teams at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah.
Grove, ranked No. 5 by The Tulsa World, challenges No. 2 Oklahoma City-Bishop McGuinness for the championship at 7:30 Friday night at Broken Arrow High School. Tiger Memorial Stadium has an artificial surface and seats some 15,000.
Unbeaten Bishop McGuinness beat No. 1 ranked Wagoner 28-12 in the other semifinal at Sapulpa.
Grove, in derailing Poteau, rallied from a 22-18 halftime deficit. The Ridgerunners received a pair of 2-yard scoring runs and 202 yards on 29 carries from Colton Gehrke.
"Colton is our guy," Bouher said. "He makes things happen."
The Ridgerunners totaled 415 yards, Bouher said, with Hopper throwing for 156 on 18-for-29 accuracy.
Maymi had five receptions for 56 yards and Dusty Gehrke three for 41. Davenport and Michael Hudgens also had three receptions apiece.
Hopper, who scored on a 1-yard run with 4:34 left in the game, also passed 9 yards to Dusty Gehrke for a TD.
By Anvil Welch