JENKS, Okla. -- Interceptions had a way of ruining Springdale Har-Ber's season opener over and over again Friday night.
Jenks' defense picked off junior quarterback Drue McClendon five times and returned one for a touchdown as the Wildcats were handed a 31-15 loss by Oklahoma's top-ranked team at Allen Trimble Stadium.
Har-Ber (0-1) had two scoring threats end with interceptions, one inside the Jenks 5 and another in the end zone. Jenks then scored one play after another interception, and Tyson Ward's 15-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Trojans a 31-7 lead with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the third quarter.
"We did some nice things, and we only lost by 16 with six turnovers," Har-Ber coach Chris Wood said. "We have to be more disciplined and clean those up. Those turnovers and the big plays we gave up, that's on me. I have to do a better job of getting these young men ready to play because they had a lot of heart and fight.
"We just have to play a cleaner game, and I think we'll be fine."
The interception that hurt the most came in the second quarter as Har-Ber threatened after a big fourth-down gamble. McClendon faked a handoff and hit Ethan Fender with a 34-yard pass to the Jenks 26, but the Wildcats lost the ball two plays later when McClendon's pass went off Noah Livingston's hands to Joey Havir, who ran 43 yards to the Har-Ber 42.
On the ensuing play, Stephen Kittleman hit Ty Walls in stride down the far sideline for a touchdown, giving the Trojans a 17-0 lead with 9:54 before halftime.
"Springdale Har-Ber is a really good team, and the offense is hard to defend," Jenks coach Keith Riggs said. "The turnovers were huge for us to get off the field. We were very opportunistic, and when you play good teams you need those plays. I've been on the other end of the turnover battle before, and it's tough when you turn the ball over."
Havir ended Har-Ber's opening drive with an interception, then Cade Stacy ended two Wildcat scoring threat with his interceptions. He leaped and grabbed McClendon's pass before he stepped out at the Trojans 2 in the first quarter, then he picked off a pass in the end zone in the third quarter as Har-Ber went for it on fourth-and-1 from the 7.
Sophomore Hudson Brewer had Har-Ber's first score with a 13-yard run with 4:24 remaining in the first half. McClendon scored the other touchdown on a 3-yard run, then Lane Rieter followed with a two-point conversion run to close out the scoring.
• Jenks now has a 2-1 lead in the series between the two schools. The Trojans earned a 44-22 victory in 2016, then Har-Ber claimed a 29-0 win the following season.
• The temperature at kickoff loomed in the upper 90s, which resulted in teams having to continually fight cramps.
• Tommy Hudson had the first of two Har-Ber interceptions when he picked off a pass to end Jenks' second drive, then Will Haney had one deep in Wildcat territory in the third quarter.
• Har-Ber returns to action next week with a home nonconference game against North Little Rock. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.
JENKS, OKLA. 31, SPRINGDALE HAR-BER 15
Jenks — FG Paskvan 37, 8:45.
Jenks — Lohr 22 pass from Kittleman (Paskvan kick), 1:45.
Jenks — Walls 42 pass from Kittleman (Paskvan kick), 9:54.
Har — Brewer 13 run (Fleming kick), 4:24.
Jenks — Lohr 47 run (Paskvan kick), 8:40.
Jenks — Ward 15 interception return (Paskvan kick), 1:07.
Har — McClendon 3 run (Reiter run), 9:16.
Henry Apple can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NWAHenry.