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Lincoln Christian turns the tide in 3A title game with 41 unanswered points

Down 28-7, Bulldogs rally against Heritage Hall team reeling from loss of standout QB

EDMOND, OKLAHOMA - The game started like Andy Bass and Oklahoma City Heritage Hall would run away with another state title.

Then, Tulsa Lincoln Christian turned the tide and rolled with a 41-point onslaught that was unanswered. Ultimately, the Bulldogs captured a 48-28 victory Saturday night in the Class 3A Oklahoma state football championship final at Chad Richison Stadium on the University of Central Oklahoma campus.

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This is Lincoln Christian’s first state championship since 2019 and third in school history.

The Bulldogs were also in the 2020 and 2021 title games, and came up short.

“First of all, I want to thank God for a completely different experience,” Lincoln quarterback Luke Milligan said. “It feels way better to win, obviously. It was awesome to get that job done.”

It was the Bulldogs’ rushing attack that thrived as Moses Fullingim and Sawyer Brooks each went over the century mark.

Fullingim ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries, while Brooks scored twice with 19 handoffs for 167 yards.

“That was all my linemen,” Fullingim said. “They made the right holes for me and I’m just like, ‘Turn on the jets and let’s go.’”

“It’s so surreal,” Brooks said. “I’ve been a part of three (state championship games). The first two were my freshman year and my sophomore year, and we lost both of them. So I was hungry.

"We went to the semifinals last year and I didn’t think we would make it (this year) since we lost 21 seniors. We have seven seniors and we still got it done. So that proves something about our chemistry.”

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After falling behind 28-7 in the second quarter with 4:46 left in the second quarter, Lincoln Christian got two touchdowns before halftime. The Bulldogs then tied the score immediately to start the second half, and added 20 more points while the defense held the Chargers to 60 yards in the second half and forced three interceptions.

Unfortunately, Bass - an Oklahoma commit - exited the game with an injury early in the third quarter. He finished with 167 yards on 17 carries and three TDs on the ground and 103 yards through the air, with 8-of-13 passing attempts with one TD.

The game began with both teams exchanging touchdowns, but the Chargers took over with the versatile Bass doing his stuff.

Bass found an open hole up the middle for Heritage Hall’s first TD, darting 48 yards to the goal line.

The Bulldogs countered on their first possession with a 1-yard score by Fullingim.

The Chargers moved again with Bass scoring from 2 yards on a keeper, making it 14-7.

Questions began to arise if a repeat of a high-scoring game from last year’s 3A final, when Heritage Hall beat Tulsa Metro Christian, 72-56, the most points scored combined in Oklahoma high school football championship history, was in store.

But, that was not to be.

Lincoln Christian was kept in check by the Chargers when they had the momentum.

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A fumble recovery by the Chargers, at the Bulldog 6-yard line, set up a 3-yard TD pass from by Bass to Jordyn Harris early in the second. Bass later added what would be the last Heritage Hall TD on a 2-yard run.

Milligan said the feeling on the Lincoln sideline was a little flat at that juncture.

“But once we got that energy going, we just rolled with it and got it done,” he said.

The rally would start.

Kylan Schulteis took the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to the Bulldog 37. Brooks ran 15 yards on the first play of the drive. Fullingim got the ball on the next three plays and the ball was at the HH 29.

On third down, Fullingim ran to the 4. Brooks took the ball 2 yards to the 2. Then, Fullingim got his second TD of the night from 2 yards and it was 28-14 with 3:24 to go before halftime.

With 33 seconds left in the half, quarterback Luke Milligan hit Kailib Dillard inside the 10, who sprinted to the end zone to conclude a 39-yard scoring play and it was 28-21 at the break.

Receiving the ball to start the second half as a result of winning the coin toss and choosing to defer, Lincoln wasted no time putting up another TD. On its third play of the drive, Brooks took a handoff, found a hole up the middle, and went 60 yards for the tying TD.

“On film, you can’t move sideways, you got to move straight up the field," Brooks said. "We were watching Marlow (whom Heritage Hall played last week in the state semifinals) film. Marlow just went straight up the gut, so I make one cut and I keep going."

“Once we scored again, we knew our defense was going to make a stop, and then we were going to make a separation,” Fullingim said.

Hoping to get the lead back, Heritage Hall moved to the Bulldog 20 then was faced with a fourth-and-4. Chargers' backup QB Barrett Travis threw an incomplete pass and turned it over on downs.

The Bulldogs drove to their 46 and fumbled it away to Heritage Hall, but got it back quickly on an interception by Schulteis, who took it to the LC 49. With Fullingim carrying most of the load, the Bulldogs drove to the Charger 4 before Sawyer then scored the go-ahead TD on the first play of the final period.

That put Lincoln ahead for good, 35-28. The rally was complete, but the insurance scores were to follow.

Luke Milligan hit younger brother Jack Milligan for a 20-yard TD with 6:07 left. The PAT was missed.

Then, Fullingim put a stamp on it with a 58-yard TD with 5:41 to go. The last score was set up by a pick from Dillard.

Brooks also led the team on defense with nine tackles, two solo, and two for losses.

Photos/video by Michael Kinney

-- Mike Moguin | @SBLiveOK