By JOHN FERGUSON
Wagoner’s defense made sure this would not be the third time that the battle with Oologah would be decided by a last second field goal.
The Bulldog defense is really good this year. However, when you look deeper, they are a proud and close knit squad, too.
That closeness translates to a Bulldog team that hates to give up scores of any kind and likes to win.
That’s the way it was as Wagoner built a 24-0 halftime lead behind its stifling defense en route to a 38-19 victory over District 4A-3 rival Oologah Thursday night, Oct. 17, at Odom Field.
The victory raised Wagoner to 4-0 in District play and 6-1 overall. Oologah fell to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in District.
Wagoner limited the Mustangs to 23 rushing yards on 23 running plays. If it weren’t for a couple of long pass completions, Oologah might have had trouble breaking 100 yards total offense, but managed 157 through the air.
“I’m proud of everybody on defense for coming out and playing,” said Wagoner’s Isaac Smith. “I think we play best as a unit.”
Smith is the team’s second leading tackler with 57 coming into the Oologah game. Trey Gause is the team leader with 65 before Oologah game.
“We’re like brothers,” Gause said of the defense. “We’ve always got each other’s back. We’ve got a bond that’s unbreakable.”
While the defense limited big plays by Oologah in the first half, the Wagoner offense rolled to a 24-0 lead.
Chase Nanni caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Sawyer Jones to open the scoring with 6:46 left in the first quarter. Nanni would finish with 66 yards on three receptions and even caught a 2-point conversion.
Running back Chochee Watson got the Bulldogs’ next two scores on runs of 6 and 2 yards. Both TDs came in the second quarter.
The last score of the first half began following a Bulldog interception of Mustang quarterback Blake Salt.
With time running out, Jones pulled off a 49-yard run to the Oologah 29 yard line.
Coach Dale Condict sent kicker Jaden Snyder in to attempt a 39-yard field goal with two seconds left. Snyder connected and hit the field goal as time ran out.
Snyder also converted on three extra points, the field goal and played defense, too.
The Mustangs took advantage of penalties and good field position to finally score in the third quarter.
Salt found Brennen Davis for a 17-yard TD pass. The point after kick failed with 8:50 left in the third quarter.
Wagoner answered back with 1:50 remaining. Jones scored on a 1-yard plunge and Snyder added the kick for a 31-6 lead.
Running back Braden Drake made it 38-6 with a nifty 36-yard TD run. Drake broke tackles and made others miss him completely en route to the end zone. Snyder added the kick with 6:12 left in the game.
Oologah again used penalties to gain good field position for its last two scores.
The Mustangs tallied with Salt to Davis again for a 47-yard score and Salt ran for a 1-yard score with a minute left in the contest.
Overall, Wagoner had 237 yards rushing and 126 yards passing by Jones, who hit 11-of-18 attempts without an interception.
Drake was the game’s leading rusher with 105 yards on 13 carries.
Brian Trimble and Jamon Davis each had interceptions for Wagoner.
“We’ve got some things we need to clean up,” said Condict about the overall game.
Condict loved the first half play of his team, but didn’t like the mistakes in the second half.
“We’re still happy to be undefeated in District play,” added Condict.
Did last year’s upset loss at Oologah have an effect on this game?
“Definitely, the kids and coaches were all glued in,” Condict said. “Last year, we took them too lightly.”
Of this game, Condict liked the defense and had praise for his signal caller, too.
“I thought Sawyer played well and both tailbacks,” Condict said.
Wagoner travels to Bristow on Friday night, Oct. 25 for a big District game that should decide the champion.
Both Wagoner and Bristow are unbeaten in 4A-3. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.