Woodward, Okla. — WEATHERFORD - Laverne came into the 2012 football season with state championship dreams.
Those dreams became real at Southwestern Oklahoma State University Saturday night as the Tigers lifted the Class B state championship trophy.
Laverne polished off a 14-0 campaign with a powerful 50-19 victory over Pond Creek-Hunter at Southwestern's Fast Lane Field before a crowd estimated at 4,000.
A 30-point third period by the Tigers broke open a close game and pretty much sealed the outcome.
Ahead 14-7 at halftime, the Tigers exploded in the third quarter as Tucker Rolf broke the first play from scrimmage for a 70-yard touchdown just 17 seconds in the period. Trevor Harris added the conversion for a 22-0 lead.
Two plays later Tucker Hickman picked off a pass and returned it to the Panther 42.
Six plays after that Rolf powered in from the one, Harris added the conversion and suddenly it was 30-7.
On the Tigers' next possession, sophomore fullback Dalton Birch busted free for a 54-yard touchdown to make the score 36-7. Birch had 3 touchdowns and 161 yards for the Tigers.
Trenton Grimes had a 13-yard touchdown run on the Panthers next possession to trim the lead to 36-13, but it did little to break the Tigers momentum.
On Laverne's next play, Trevor Harris broke free for 62 yards to the 2. He scored on the next play for a 44-13 lead.
Each team scored once in the fourth period, the Panthers on a 27-yard pass from Josh Irvin to Brady Krittenbrink and the Tigers on a 4-yard run by Dalton Birch with 5:36 left in the game.
From there it was a matter of playing out the clock as the Tiger faithful began their celebration that continued well after the championship trophy was presented.
Laverne's big-play ability proved key throughout the game, but the Tigers were also able to control the ball with their veteran offensive line.
Laverne finished with 474 yards rushing and had just over 500 yards in total offense. Harris and Rolf joined Birch to give the Tigers three rushers with over 150 yards. Pond Creek-Hunter had to rely on its passing game most of the night.
The Panthers stung the Tigers on the opening kickoff as Harley Comeau found a seam and went 86 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick by Hans Staat made it 7-0 just 14 seconds into the contest.
The Tigers didn't stay behind long.
Six plays into their opening possession, Harris broke free, put on some moves and sprinted 47 yards for a touchdown. Rolf's extra point run made it 8-6.
On the next Tiger possession, Birch went 60 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers led 14-7.
Laverne appeared ready to start pulling away as it drove to a first down on the Panthers 1-yard line on the next possession. But the Panthers defense stopped four straight running plays and the rest of the half was pretty much a draw.
The win was Laverne's second over the Panthers, as the Tigers won 36-18 in week 10 of the regular season to claim the District B-1 championship.
The championship caps a strong 5-year run by the Tigers, who lost a last-minute 30-26 decision to Garber in the 2008 state championship game. Laverne lost in the semifinals in 2009, the quarterfinals in 2010 and in the semifinals a year ago to eventual champion Caddo.
This year, the Tigers finished off their goal by taking the final step.