Wagoner wins 4A
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Saturday, December 03, 2011
12/03/11 at 7:52 AM
Bulldogs deliver dominant defensive effort.
Class 4A Championship: Quarter breakdowns.
Class 4A Championship: Statistics.
Player of the game: Kevin Peterson, Wagoner.
STILLWATER - Wagoner's year-long "Road to Redemption" ended with a dominating performance against Clinton in the Class 4A state championship game on a rainy Friday night.
Kevin Peterson had 22 carries for 241 yards and two touchdowns while Jimmy Carter led the defense with two takeaways in the second half to propel the third-ranked Bulldogs past No. 2 Clinton 23-0 before an estimated crowd of 6,000 fans at Boone Pickens Stadium.
"That's the perfect name for it," Peterson said about the Bulldogs' 2011 theme. "We came out, played our heart out and left it all out on the field."
The Bulldogs (13-1) won their first state title in their third championship game appearance in Dale Condict's seven years as their coach. Wagoner lost to Oklahoma City Douglass in overtime in last year's final and to Clinton in the 2005 championship game.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Condict said. "You chase this thing hard and there's a lot of people who never even get to coach in this game so I don't take this for granted. And to do it at a place that has this tradition and a love for the game of football, it's just a tremendous feeling.
"I even wore my game shirt from 2005 today. I got it out and put it on to remember those guys from that team who got this started."
Wagoner's redemption tour in the playoffs included a quarterfinal victory over Woodward, which was awarded a forfeit in the 1945 title game that Wagoner could not participate in due to a flu outbreak, and a semifinal win over Oklahoma City McGuinness, which beat the Bulldogs in the 2006 and '07 semifinals en route to state titles.
Last year, Peterson was limited to 17 yards on four carries in the state title game as Wagoner's ground attack was shut down. It was an opposite story on Friday as the Bulldogs piled up 387 rushing yards.
"We were out there flying around smashing people," Wagoner offensive guard-defensive end Heath Wilson said. "We made a pledge to leave everything on the field and that the most physical team would win."
A key storyline going into the game was the matchup between each team's big playmaker running back-defensive back, Peterson and Clinton's Jalee Rainge, who entered the game with 2,104 rushing yards and 31 TDs while Peterson had 1,375 rushing yards and 28 TDs. While Peterson came close to matching his season average of 11.7 yards per carry, Rainge was held to 76 total yards on 18 carries and one reception, plus lost a key fumble.
"That was the whole game plan," Peterson said about stopping Rainge. "He's a really good running back who likes to bounce it in and out, and we were trying to contain him."
Wagoner did and as a result, Clinton was shut out for the first time since 2002.
"I thought we overachieved all year," Clinton coach Mike Lee said. "We got out-athleted big time tonight. They're good, fast, big and strong and we had no matchups where we had an advantage at the skill positions."
Wagoner's defense set the tone as it opened the game by stopping Clinton without a first down on its first two possessions. The second possession came after Clinton's Jake Reynolds recovered a muffed punt at the Wagoner 48.
The Bulldogs began their first offensive possession on their 5 and marched 83 yards in 11 plays. Decarius Clark's 29-yard field goal capped the drive to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead with 3:11 left in the first quarter.
With 3:31 left in the first half, Peterson turned a toss sweep into an 86-yard touchdown down the left sideline as he received a block from running back Devin Hawkins and then bounced off Rainge.
"It was amazing," Peterson said. "My adrenaline was pumping, the crowd was going and my line was blocking great. I've had dreams about that type of run and it really came to life today."
Late in the third quarter, Clinton threatened to cut into Wagoner's 9-0 lead when Rainge caught an 18-yard pass that would have given Clinton a first down at the Wagoner 6, but Carter knocked the ball loose and recovered it along the sideline.
"That was the play of the game," Condict said.
Carter added, "When I hit him and the ball fell out, it felt great."
With 9:24 remaining, Peterson's 16-yard TD run on fourth down increased Wagoner's lead to 16-0. That was set up by his 51-yard scamper to the 24.
"Kevin was great tonight and so was Jimmy," Condict said. "I told Kevin right before we went out, 'Kevin tonight, go out and be the man. You're the best athlete on the field. Now go out and be the man.' He made some unbelievable runs, but Jimmy Carter was right there with him. He had an unbelievable defensive ballgame and had some key receptions offensively."
Carter's end-zone interception midway through the fourth quarter ended Clinton's hopes for a 16th state title. Hawkins' 20-yard TD run with 1:10 left after Kerwin Thomas' interception added icing to the Bulldogs' first state championship they narrowly missed attaining a year earlier.
"After last year, it definitely makes this sweeter," Peterson said.
World correspondent Michael Harris contributed to this story.
Why Wagoner won
To quote Clinton coach Mike
Lee, his Red Tornadoes were
“out-athleted.” Clinton was unable
to move the ball with any
consistency and only amassed
175 yards of offense during the
game. Every time Clinton had
some momentum, turnovers returned
possession to Wagoner.
Even though Wagoner scored
far below its average, the Bulldog
offense was able to convert
enough big plays to keep the
ball out of Clinton’s hands.
— MICHAEL HARRIS,
Barry Lewis 918-581-8393
Kevin Peterson (center) and Wagoner teammates celebrate after winning the Class 4A state championship with a 23-0 win over Clinton on Friday night at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
Wagoner defenders smother Clinton receiver Devon Mitchell on Friday night in Stillwater. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
Wagoner back Kevin Peterson breaks a tackle on an 86-yard touchdown run against Clinton on Friday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World
Wagoner kicker Jackson Flinn (8) hugs Heath Wilson after winning the Class 4A state championship game over Clinton. JEFF LAUTENBERGER/Tulsa World