McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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October 17, 2013

Buffs tame Lions, stay perfect in District

McALESTER — The Durant Lions ran 23 more offensive plays, but the McAlester Buffaloes put up 220 more offensive yards.

With Jarome Smith leading the way, the Buffs also scored 30 more points.

Smith rushed for 209 yards and three touchdowns and added a 66-yard kickoff-return touchdown, helping the Buffs dominate the Lions, 59-29, on Thursday at Hook Eales Stadium.

“Very explosive player, and we have several explosive players,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said of Smith. “That’s what limits defenses. People start taking off on one, somebody steps up, and right now he’s been really stepping up and playing well.”

Down 9-7 midway through the first quarter, McAlester began its drive at its own 42-yard line, moving to Durant’s 23 on six plays and a penalty. Smith then broke off a 23-yard touchdown run to make 14-9 and give the Buffs a lead they’d never relinquish.

Smith added a 78-yard touchdown run in the second and 3-yard touchdown run in the third. His kickoff-return touchdown came following a 22-yard field goal by Evan Armour that put Durant up 3-0 early in the first.

“I was cornered, and I just really wanted to score,” Smith said of the kickoff return. “I just saw a lot of daylight on the other side of the field, so I just tried to make my way there. Once I did, it was just a little foot race.”

McAlester matched its explosive offense with a defense that routinely disrupted Durant’s dangerous passing game. Following Smith’s 23-yard score, the Buffs held the Lions to a three-and-out, getting the ball back on the McAlester 19.

One play later, Rhyln Stephens burst up the middle and took off down field, carrying it 81 yards for a touchdown and a 21-9 lead with 3:32 left in the first quarter.

“We had two busted assignments on defense, and one on special teams,” Durant coach Byron Cordell said. “Their opening kickoff returned for a touchdown was a busted assignment, and then both of their long touchdown runs in the first half were busted assignments.”

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