By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Jake Gandara laughed when someone asked if he was making this a habit, being named the Phoenix Player of the Week, the final one for the 2012 season, for the second straight week.
“I don’t think so,” he said.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound senior ran for a school-record and game-high 397 yards on 31 carries and scored five touchdowns in the 49-42 victory against Sallisaw this past Friday.
A week ago, he ran for 200 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns.
Not surprisingly, Gandara said this weekend that he was feeling Friday’s game.
“Everybody’s sore and tired,” he said. “You need a lot of energy running the ball, but I also have been playing free safety for the last two games.”
Gandara, though, enhanced his credentials as a running back with his latest performance. He broke the record of 319 yards by Patrick Holybee against Grove in 1993.
“One of our assistant coaches told me after the game how many yards I had,” Gandara said. “I had no idea. I thought something was wrong with the statistics. I didn’t think I had that much. I guess I did.”
Fort Gibson coach James Singleton said Gandara’s performance against the Black Diamonds ranks higher for him than his showing against the Stilwell Indians in week nine.
“It came against a much better opponent in a traditional rivalry,” the second-year Tigers’ coach said. “Fort Gibson had not beaten them since 2004. Sallisaw has an outstanding program and a great team. We just got on Jake’s shoulders.”
Gandara increased his season’s totals to 1,781 yards on 177 carries (10.1 yards per carry) and 25 touchdowns. He’s quick to credit others for his latest showing.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage and our linemen played their tails off,” he said. “My fullback (Seth Taylor) and wide receivers also did a great job.”
Gandara’s not the first player to earn the Phoenix weekly honors twice this season. Wagoner’s Lawrence Evitt won it in weeks four and seven.
With all respect to Evitt, Singleton prefers Gandara on his team.
“He has all of the physical attributes of a great running back,” the Fort Gibson coach said. “He has great vision and acceleration. He’s now taking 10-15-yard runs and turning them into 60 yards. Three or four guys had him wrapped up the other night and he broke loose to take it to the house.”
Gandara felt bad that his showing overshadowed the school-record tying four interceptions by Jordon London.
“He played awesome,” Gandara said.
London, Gandara and the rest of the Tigers will host Oologah in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs this Friday.
Jake Gandara, Fort Gibson — Ran for 397 yards on 31 carries and scored five touchdowns on runs of 50, 73, 1, 9 and 74 yards in the 49-42 win against Sallisaw.
Tariq Beasley, Muskogee — Gained 107 yards on 14 carries and scored a touchdown while grabbing four passe for 53 yards against Bixby.
James Buckhanan, Muskogee — Pulled down four passes for 129 yards including an 80-yard TD in the loss to Bixby.
Mason McMillan, Tahlequah — Ran for 149 yards on 19 carries and scored three touchdowns in te 40-21 loss to Collinsville.
Lawrence Evitt, Wagoner — Gained 232 yards rushing on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns in the 52-34 win against Vinita.
Lateze Clayton, Wagoner — Returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the win against Vinita.
Jordan London, Fort Gibson — Tied a school-record with four interceptions inlcuding one returned for 70 yards to clinch the win against Sallisaw.
Hunter Woods, Hilldale — Gained 107 yards on six carries and scored on a 68-yard TD run in the 54-0 win against Westville.
Hunter Olson, Hilldale — Made 10 tackles including one for a loss in the win against Westville.
Trevor Eubanks, Keys — Gained 205 yards rushing on 14 carries and scored three touchdowns in the 52-24 win against Locust Grove.
Cody Cole, Keys — Ran for 265 yards on 25 carries and scored four touchdowns in the win against Locust Grove.
Cade Shearwood, Stigler — Completed 7 of 11 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, while running for 115 yards on 11 carries and three TDs in the 55-16 win against Idabel.
Seth Sandlin, Stigler — Rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns in the win against Idabel.
Tyler Addy, Checotah — Completed 18 of 49 passes and two touchdowns on throws of 17, and 39 yards in the 26-18 loss to Spiro.
Kyle Helsley, Sequoyah — Ran for 260 yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 45, 63, 45 yards in the 63-40 win against Lincoln Christian.
Brayden Scott, Sequoyah — Completed 20 of 34 passes for 287 yards and four touchdowns on throws of 22, 48, 20 and 13 yards in the victory against Lincoln Christian.
Mike Sinhoui, Eufaula — Gained 156 yards rushing on 28 carries and scored twice and returned a kickoff 87 yards in the 49-42 loss to Heavener.
Rilee Simon, Vian — Completed eight of 10 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns in the 54-0 win against Panama.
Britt Williams, Haskell — Registered 18 tackles, two sacks, intercepted a pass, caused a fumble and had a pass deflection and also had four carries for 80 yards including a 55-yard TD run in the 28-6 win against Mounds.
Jordan Presley, Haskell — Gained 114 yards rushing on 21 carries and scored twice in the win against Mounds.
Chris Vance, Hulbert — Ran for 69 yards on 2 carries and scored on touchdowns on runs of nine and 45 yards while completing three touchdowns on throws of 32, 33 and 2 yards in five pass attempts in the 46-26 win against Ketchum.
James Collier, Warner — Gained 67 yards rushing on seven carries and scored three times on runs 8, 28 and 5 yards in the 58-21 win against Liberty.
Justin Wright, Warner — Rushed for 70 yards on nine carries in the win against Liberty.
Robert Clark, Gore — Completed 22 of 39 passes for 321 yards and four touchdowns on throws of 37, 30, 60 and 25 yards in the 63-42 loss to Talihina.
Logan Ohl, Gore — Caught 12 passes fo 112 yards and a 37-yard touchdown and ran for 79 yards on 17 carries in the loss Talihina.
Jacob Richardson, Porter — Rushed for 194 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns, while completing a 65-yard TD pass in the 28-22 win against Foyil.