OWASSO — On an evening where conditions were not ideal for the passing game, Nate Anderson and Rejoice Christian were able to find plenty of success on the ground.
Anderson ran for 216 yards and five touchdowns and quarterback Riley Walker tallied 102 yards and two more scores as the No. 2 Eagles pulled away from Wewoka for a 62-18 win Friday night at a soggy Rejoice Stadium.
Rejoice scored 41 unanswered points to start the second half.
“If they’re going to man us up and it’s wet and it’s hard to catch the ball, we can run it down your throats,” said Anderson, who has tallied nearly 1,500 rushing yards on the season.
With the victory, Rejoice (12-0) advanced to the Class A quarterfinals, where it will hit the road to take on Thomas (9-3) next week. Thomas held off Minco, 47-45, on Friday.
Against Wewoka, the Eagles tallied 405 rushing yards and scored each of their nine touchdowns on the ground. A 34-point third quarter gave Rejoice a 55-12 lead. Walker scored on runs of 2 and 34 yards and Anderson found the end zone from 30 and 15 yards out during the flurry.
Hunter Jennings added touchdowns from 3 and 18 yards as Rejoice scored on its first six possessions of the second half.
“That third quarter was tremendous for our offensive line up front,” Eagles coach Brent Marley said. “Tremendous job by them and Nate Anderson and Riley Walker running the ball.”
Wewoka (8-4) put an early scare into Rejoice as Aaron Hamilton scored on a 13-yard run to give the Tigers a 6-0 lead midway through the first quarter. It marked the first time the Eagles had trailed all season.
Hamilton finished with 127 yards on 23 carries. Quarterback Kobey Stephens scored on 13-yard scamper on fourth and 12 late in the second quarter as Wewoka trailed just 21-12 going into halftime.
“They were probably the most athletic team we’ve faced in my four or five years here,” Marley said. “They don’t just have one guy to key on. They have several guys that can make plays on you.”
Rejoice made key stops on defense and special teams to help ignite its third quarter explosion. Duke Curtis stopped Hamilton for a 4-yard loss on a fake punt attempt after Wewoka went three-and-out on its first second half series. Anderson ended the next drive with an interception at the Tiger 34, which led to Walker’s second score. Caden Ward and Eli Alwert had fumble recoveries that led to touchdowns as well.
Walker completed just 7-of-16 passes for 49 yards. The senior and three-year starter said at this point in the season, he just wants to keep playing football games, whatever that requires.
“I don’t care if I throw zero passes,” Walker said. “I don’t care if I run the ball zero times. I just want to win. That’s all that matters at this point.”