By Jimmy Stinson
WAGONER – Homecoming night ended well for the Wagoner Bulldogs on Friday night, but it took a while for them to get the party going, overcoming a sluggish and penalty-filled first half to put away the Miami Wardogs 55-21 in District 4A-3 action at W.L. Odom Stadium.
Even though the Bulldogs had a 28-7 halftime lead, the first half was not as sharp as Wagoner head coach Dale Condict would have liked, the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs remain perfect, pushing their record to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in district, while Miami drops to 1-5 and 0-3.
“Sloppy, too many penalties on both sides,” said Condict after the game. Wagoner racked up 11 penalties for 105 yards in the first half and 14 for the game. “Outside of the penalties I thought we played pretty well.”
Wagoner relied on the fleet feet of the team’s leading rusher, Lawrence Evitt. Evitt finished the first half with nine carries for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Evitt had scoring runs of 14 in the first quarter and 44 and 50 yards in the second. His first came on the Bulldogs’ initial possession following a Wardogs’ punt.
Another Bulldog to score multiple touchdowns is a player most would not have expected. Lining up in the wildcat formation, Roman Rodriguez was able to gouge the Wardog defense for two of his three touchdowns. The first came on Wagoner’s third possession. Rodriguez took a direct snap and found Hadyn Ford in the corner of the end zone for a 36-yard throw and catch.
“He’s played quarterback before, so it’s not something that is totally new to him and he’s probably got the strongest arm on the team,” said Condict.
“We have been working on that and it just came natural tonight,” said Rodriguez.
Wagoner’s defense held Miami scoreless in the first quarter but gave up a touchdown on a five play 69 yard drive in the second quarter, boosted by special teams blunders. Backed up on a fourth-and-12 and looking to punt, back to back offsides penalties pushed it into a fourth-and-2 situation. Miami elected to go for it and Christian Folks took a handoff and rambled 30 yards for the score and cut the lead to 21-7.
Evitt and the Bulldogs answered quickly with a 16-yard run by Rodriguez, followed by a 50-yard sprint by Evitt for a score and Wagoner was back up by 21 at 28-7. Miami added a late second quarter score on a 31-yard throw and catch from Sawyer Pooler to Ty Mercer to cut the lead to 28-13.
Wagoner controlled the next three plus minutes and marched 73 yards where Jake Woodson found Rodriguez coming out of the backfield for an 8-yard throw and catch. Wagoner added three more scores in the second half with Evitt scoring on a run of four yards and Devin Hawkins finding the end zone on an 11-yard jaunt around the left end.
Rodriguez collected the “hat trick” with a two-yard dive into the end zone. Miami added two late scores but the game was already well in hand for the Bulldogs.
Evitt finished the night with 218 yards rushing on 16 carries and three touchdowns. Rodriguez had 82 yards rushing on eight carries, had one reception for eight yards and a touchdown and through the air completed his only pass for 36 yards and a touchdown.
Wagoner returns to action next Thursday when it hosts fellow unbeaten Oologah in 4A-3 action.