CLEVELAND, Okla. – Another dominant game and another dominant win as Wagoner got ready for the Class 4A playoffs with a sharp effort on the last game of the Class 4A regular season Friday night, Nov. 8.
Wagoner’s Chochee Watson and Chase Nanni combined for five touchdowns and the Bulldogs welcomed back injured senior Drew Mills during a 40-13 win over Cleveland at Billy Vessels Memorial Stadium.
The Bulldogs, now 8-2 overall and 6-1 in league play, sewed up second place in District 4A-3. Wagoner will get a first round home game to open the 4A playoffs. The Bulldogs will meet Fort Gibson again on Nov. 15.
Wagoner not only played Fort Gibson in the first round of 2018’s playoffs, but also posted a 49-7 win in the third game of the 2019 season. Ironically, that regular season contest was the game Mills injured his hip and missed six games until this road game with Cleveland.
The headlines of the game will feature three rushing TDs by Watson and two TD receptions by Nanni. However, Mills’ return did things that did not show up on the scoreboard.
Mills became another offensive weapon. He caught two passes in Wagoner’s second drive of the game that helped move the Bulldogs down the field. On defense, he added experience and depth to the secondary to help thwart the Tigers.
“It was really fun to be out there with my teammates and have a blast,” said Mills, who carried the team flag onto the field before kickoff. “I’m blessed that God allowed me to come back and play.”
Wagoner jumped to a quick 19-0 lead with three TDs on its first three possessions.
Watson got the Bulldogs on the scoreboard with an 11 yard run. Jaden Snyder added his first of two extra point kicks. Ethan Muehlenweg added the last two extra points.
Snyder scored the game’s second TD on a 23-yard pass from Sawyer Jones. Jones finished with three TD passes and ran the offense well.
With 41 seconds left in the first quarter, Jones hit Nanni with a 5-yard scoring strike for the 19-0 lead.
Cleveland finally broke through with a score with 4:44 left in the half, but Wagoner answered immediately.
Watson scored from 2 yards outs for a 26-6 margin with 2:33 left in the second quarter.
Linebacker Kaden Charboneau got an interception as time expired in the half and recorded a pass deflection during the game.
Defensive back Brian Trimble made a great play to prevent a Cleveland TD. Trimble used his speed to catch up with the Tiger receiver and knock the ball away in the last second.
On special teams, Jamon Davis returned a kickoff some 35 yards on a nice return early in the game.
Other top defensive plays included an interception by Trey Gause, who almost scored on the play and a fumble recovery by Nanni.
Wagoner’s first punt of the game came in the third quarter.
Speaking of punts, a short one by Cleveland midway through the third quarter set Wagoner up deep in Tiger territory.
A few plays into the drive, Jones hit Nanni for a 26-yard score.
The Bulldogs made it 40-6 when Watson ran 31 yards to score with 7:30 left in the game.
Cleveland tallied one last time against Wagoner reserves to make it 40-13.
The loss dropped the Tigers to fourth in the District race. Cleveland will travel to Poteau for its first playoff game on Nov. 15.