By Tommy Cobb
WAGONER – Wagoner coach Dale Condict couldn’t help but crack a smile when talking about how much bigger Oologah’s line was than his. That’s because his had the speed and in the second half, that won out.
Wagoner wore down Oologah in the second half and Lawrence Evitt rushed for 131 yards in the second half as the second ranked Bulldogs defeated Oologah, 42-28, Thursday night at W. L. Odom Stadium.
“People get tired later in the game,” Condict said. “We have several players that can break big plays and we felt that was going to happen in the second half.”
Wagoner (7-0, 4-0 in District 4A-3) was held to just 42 yards rushing in the first half as the Bulldogs fell behind 14-7. But a 31-yard punt return by Hadyn Ford set up Roman Rodriguez’ 23-yard fourth down run to tie the game 14-14 with 2:05 left in the first half.
“I thought we really hurt them with our punt returns,” Condict said. “We had the drive right before the half that I thought really gave us some momentum. Our goal every game is to come out in the third quarter and hold our opponent to a three and out.”
That’s exactly what Wagoner’s defense did. Oologah (4-3, 3-1) was forced to punt after three plays and Ford gave Wagoner excellent field position again with a 34-yard punt return to the Mustang 38.
Wagoner held the ball for six minutes on the drive which lasted 12 plays. Rodriguez converted on a fourth and one and Evitt ran for 21 yards on third and 15 before finally scoring from one yard out to give Wagoner the lead at 21-14.
“We had several crazy third down and fourth down conversions,” Condict said. “We didn’t want them to have the ball. Their quarterback is a good athlete and we wanted to take the ball out of his hands.”
Oologah ran only three offensive plays in the third quarter. However, the Mustangs were able to tie the game 21-21 on a 75-yard kickoff return.
Wagoner responded with a drive full of big plays after being backed up to its own 12. Evitt got loose for a 44-yard run. Three plays later, Evitt, who scored on a 67-yard pass reception on the first play of the game, made an even more spectacular catch as he tipped a pass up and then came down with it for 15 yards on third and long to keep the drive alive. Rodriguez, who finished with 75 yards rushing, then scored three plays later on an 11-yard run to give Wagoner a 28-21 lead.
Rodriguez’ defensive play stopped the Mustangs ensuing drive as he sacked quarterback Payton Craig for a 10-yard loss on third down.
The Bulldogs’ A.J. Freeth showed his big play ability as he took an end around and outran the Mustang defense for a 21-yard scoring run as Wagoner distanced itself 35-21 with 8:48 remaining.
Oologah was not going to go quietly. The Mustangs put together a 84-yard scoring drive highlighted by a first down conversion on third and 24 to cut the lead to 35-28. However the drive took 11 plays and ran over four minutes off the clock.
Wagoner took over at its own 20 with 4:39 remaining. Evitt, who finished with 137 yards rushing and 82 yards receiving, rushed 46 yards to the Oologah 34. The Bulldogs then ground it out and sealed the win on a 2-yard run by Devin Hawkins.
WAGONER 42, OOLOGAH 28
Oologah 7 7 7 7–28
Wagoner 7 7 14 14–42
WHS – Lawrence Evitt 67 pass from Jake Woodson (Tanner Rolen kick) 11:40
OHS – Jimmy McKinney 5 run (Mark Franklin kick) 3:02
OHS – Breyden DeSpain 29 pass from Payton Craig (Franklin kick) 10:34
WHS – Roman Rodriguez 23 run (Rolen kick) 2:05
WHS – Evitt 1 run (Rolen kick) 4:45
OHS – Chance Keim 75 kickoff return (Franklin kick) 4:25
WHS – Rodriguez 11 run (Rolen kick) 0:49
WHS – A. J. Freeth 21 run (Rolen kick) 8:48
OHS – McKinney 9 run (Franklin kick) 4:39
WHS – Devin Hawkins 2 run (Rolen kick) 1:41
First Downs 13 17
Rushes-Yards 35-118 42-269
Passing yards 136 95
Passes (C-A-I) 9-13-0 4-8-1
Fumbles-lost 0-0 3-0
Punts-average 4-31 2-30
Penalties-yards 5-49 4-38
Rushing – OHS, Jimmy McKinney 19-85; WHS, Lawrence Evitt 21-137.
Passing – OHS, Payton Craig 9-13-0 136; WHS, Jake Woodson 4-7-1 95.
Receiving – OHS, Breyden DeSpain 5-90; WHS, Evitt 2-82.