By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
TULSA – Jake Gandara had fun, which was what the Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State Games were about.
Players weren’t here because of their salesmanship.
Which one might have thought he needed after carrying 18 yards on a sweep he was so successful running at Fort Gibson this past season as he rushed for 2,234 yards and earned Most Valuable Player honors on the All-Phoenix team.
The rest of his carries were up the middle. He finished with five carries for 37 yards and the West beat his East team, 32-7, Friday at Union-Tuttle Stadium.
He did try to make his case for more.
“Of course I did, but that’s the way the game goes. It’s All-State and everyone needs their reps,” he said.
“I’m disappointed in the outcome, but I made a lot of good friends and got a good launch into my college career.”
Gandara will move on to UCO. He also returned two kicks for 67 yards in the first half, the longest of 37 yards. He topped that with a 40-yarder in the third quarter after the West made it a 19-7 game on a 3-yard run by Grant Newton of Kingfisher, and also had a 30-yard return. He caught one pass for 12 yards.
Wagoner linebacker T.J. Ponds had five unassisted tackles. His Bulldog teammate Lateze Clayton had two, as did Vian linebacker Rowdy Simon.
Ponds is bound for NSU, Clayton for UCO and Simon, who was the Phoenix Male Athlete of the Year in 2012-13, is a walk-on linebacker at Tulsa.
“It didn’t end the way I’d liked for it to, but it’s on to Northeastern,” Ponds said.
Gore lineman Chance Douthit, a preferred walk-on at Oklahoma State, was also on the team as was Stigler’s Cade Sherwood, who started for the East at quarterback. Late in the week, he got his own surprise – his twin brother Colton got called up as a replacement on the roster.
“It’s been a blessing having him up here,” said Cade Sherwood, who will be an outside linebacker at UCO. He was 1-for-3 in sharing duties with Cleveland’s Chas Stallard.
“It’s been a long time since I was there in a game situation.”
Colton, who will play free safety at UCO, heard the news of his addition to the team from his dad, Marty. He didn’t have a catch, but left with some special memories.
“He came in and told us and I was super-psyched,” Colton said. “It’s been something the two of us have talked about forever and I felt really blessed to have the opportunity.”
Cashion quarterback Ty Reasnor threw for two first-half touchdowns, which was all the West would need.
The East had a brief lead at 7-6 when Stallard connected with Poteau’s Jay Werner on a 10-yard pass. Cole Taylor of Victory Christian’s extra-point kick followed.
In a halftime ceremony, Vian’s Hayden Coffee was announced as All-State East queen while Gandara’s sister, Taylor Gandara, was runner-up.
West 32, East 7
WEST 6 6 7 13–32
EAST 7 0 0 0–7
West: Zach Hill, 7 pass from Ty Reasnor, Cashion (kick failed):4:09.
East: Jay Werner, Poteau, 10 pass from Chas Stallard, Cleveland (Cole Taylor, Victory Christian, kick), :26.
West: Jake Higginbotham, Norman North, 21 pass from Reasnor (run failed), 3:54.
West: Grant Newton, Kingfisher, 3 run (Reasnor kick), 8:36.
West: Trey Knowles, Wynnewood, 1 run (kick failed), 8:59.
West : Dewayne Sanders, Pauls Valley, 39 pass from Grant Nightengale, Fairview, (Reasnor kick), 5:08.