By CRAIG HALL
Roland stayed alive in the race for the 3A-8 title with a 34-7 win at Heavener on Thursday night.
The win improved the Rangers to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in district play while Heavener drops to 2-5 and 1-3 in the district.
After the Rangers scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, Heavener shut down the Roland attack until late in the third quarter when Sirvanta Knauls broke loose for a 65-yard touchdown run to put the lead at 22-0.
Heavener responded with its best drive of the night, eventually scoring on a 2-yard pass on fourth and goal from Connor Place to Dillan Stallings. After Kobe Whiteis hit the PAT, the Wolves were only down 22-7 with 10:28 left.
Roland put the game away on its next drive, scoring on a 12-yard pass from Manuel Bunch to Josh Wheeler to go up 28-7. With a safe lead, Roland could have simply ran out the clock when the Rangers got the ball back with only a little over three minutes left.
Instead, the Rangers threw a bomb on first down, scoring on a 59-yard pass from Bunch to Austin Cantrell, which caused an already intense game to reach the boiling stage.
Heavener’s Caleb Armstrong returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but as the play was ending, a pair of players from Roland and Heavener got into a wrestling match. That nearly ignited a bench-clearing incident but coaches got the players back on the sidelines.
The touchdown was nullified by an illegal block and the head coaches were called to midfield for several minutes to discuss the situation. When Heavener took the field, the Wolves went with one play and the quarterback took a knee. Both teams then left the field and the final 1:58 ran off the clock without another play being run.
Heavener visits Spiro next week while Roland hosts Stigler.