By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
ANADARKO – It boiled down to a contest between Fort Gibson’s Jake Gandara and Anadarko’s R.J. Sink in this Class 4A quarterfinal game.
Gandara won the battle, outrushing Sink 254 yards to 198, but it was the Warriors who won the war in taking the 46-20 victory at Warrior Field on Friday night.
Gandara was impressed with Sink.
“He played a great game,” Gandara, who scored three first-half touchdowns, said. “That’s one of the better backs I’ve seen. He was very good in the open field and can make people miss when he wants.”
Sink, who ran for four TDs and caught a TD pass, also heaped praise on Gandara.
“I thought he was magnificent,” he said. “He was better than I thought he was. What he did was nice.
“It was a running back-running back duel. I just tried to outdo him.”
Ultimately, it was Andarko’s defense that outdid Gandara in the second half. The Warriors, ranked No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll, held the Tigers’ senior to 66 yards rushing in the latter 20 minutes. Gandara and the Tigers didn’t score in the second half.
“Their defense was firing through gaps a lot better than they were in the first half,” Gandara, who had 36 carries, said. “In the first half, they were overflowing and I was able to cut back on some runs. They toughened up and it was harder in the second half.”
Gandara had 186 yards rushing on 19 carries in the first half. He scored on runs of 2, 5 and 4 yards in the half.
Sink, meanwhile, scored on runs of 92 and 12 yards and caught a 16-yard TD pass in the first half. He scored twice more in the second half on runs of 56 and 15 yards on his way to gaining 98 yards on six carries in the latter two quarters. He finished with 12 carries.
Sink and the Warriors (12-0) advance to the semifinals against defending state champion and second-ranked Wagoner (11-1) next week at date, site and time to be determined. Wagoner turned back Weatherford 33-10 in its quarterfinal.
Fort Gibson’s best season since the state finalist year of 1999 ended at 10-2. The Tigers were No. 6 in the final AP poll.
FGHS coach James Singleton was as impressed with the play of the linemen on both teams as much as he was the opposing running backs.
“Don’t get me wrong. Those were two outstanding backs but you had two offensive and defensive lines getting after it tonight,” he said. “(Anadarko) is going to be sore, but so will our guys. This is one of the most physical games I’ve been in and our guys played lights out. Both running backs played their hearts out.”
The Warriors got an eight-yard TD run from Brandon Pollard and one-yard plunge by Josh Parton in the fourth quarter to pull away from the Tigers.
Fort Gibson trailed 21-20 halftime as Daniel Mielnik missed the extra point after Gandara’s third touchdown run.
Sink’s 56-yard TD run with 9:23 left in the third period padded the Warriors’ lead to 27-20. Anadarko, the Class 3A state champion in 2011, then poured on the 19 points in the final quarter.
ANADARKO 46, FORT GIBSON 20
Fort Gibson 14 6 0 0—21
Anadarko 7 14 6 19—46
Fort Gibson – Jake Gandara 2 run (Daniel Mielnik kick), 9:34
Fort Gibson – Gandara 5 run (Mielnik kick), 5;12
Anadarko – R.J. Sink 92 run (Cole Nation kick), 4:53
Anadarko – R.J. Sink 16 pass from Brandon Pollard (Nation kick), 8:58
Fort Gibson – Gandara 4 run (kick failed), 8:28
Anadarko – Sink 12 run (Nation kick), 0:38
Anadarko – Sink 56 run (kick failed), 9:23
Anadarko – Brandon Pollard 8 run (Nation kick), 7:31
Anadarko – Sink 15 run (kick failed), 5:06
Anadarko – Josh Parton 1 run (kick failed),1:21
Fort Gibson Anadarko
First Downs 2 12
Rushes-Yards 45-247 27-243
Passing Yards 34 133
Passes (C-A-I) 1-8-3 11-16-0
Punts-Avg. 4-31.7 3-38.3
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 4-38 4-30
RUSHING: Fort Gibson, Jake Gandara 36-254 Anadarko, R.J. Sink 12-198.
PASSING: Fort Gibson, Daniel Mielnik 1-1-0—34. Anadarko, Brandon Pollard 11-16-0—133.
RECEIVING: Fort Gibson, Jake Gandara 1-34. Anadarko, R.J. Sink 4-72.