BETHANY — Chase Nanni has made a name for himself as a receiver.
On Friday, in two pressure-packed moments, he endeared himself to Wagoner fans for his defense.
The junior’s interception and tipped pass, which led to an interception in the fourth quarter helped the Bulldogs upset previously unbeaten Bethany, 21-14, Friday night in a Class 4A quarterfinal.
Now 10-2, the Bulldogs — eliminated a year ago in the post season by Bethany — play Poteau at a neutral site in the semifinals.
Nanni called his two game-changing plays mountain top experiences.
“Those are highlights of my life,” said Nanni, as his teammates celebrated at midfield at Southern Nazarene University’s field.
His first came at midfield with 2:01 showing in a 14-14 battle, which seemed headed to overtime.
Three plays later, Braden Drake scooted 43 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:25 left.
“I saw a seam and hit it hard,” Drake said. “I made a cut and there it was. All I could think was ‘Let’s end this.’”
However, the Bronchos and quarterback Sam Brandt weren’t going away.
Brandt, in six plays, marched Bethany to the Bulldog 25 with 16 seconds left and Bethany certainly had momentum.
That’s when Nanni tipped a Brandt pass into the air and Kaden Charboneau snagged the ball for the game-clinching interception.
The Bulldogs led 7-6 at intermission in a half dominated by Bethany, which held a lopsided 212-58 advantage in total offense.
Bethany got a chunk of those yards on its first possessions with three first downs on its first for snaps for 48 of those yards but fumbled away a golden scoring chance.
With Brandt at the throttle, the Bronchos turned a 69 yard Wagoner punt into a 99-yard, five play scoring drive for a 6-0 lead with 3:40 showing in the first quarter.
Brandt keyed that march by racing 50 yards to the end zone and at that point Wagoner was on its heels.
Yet, the momentum began to shift in the second quarter as the Bulldog defense forced Bethany on consecutive series.
After a short Broncho punt, Wagoner started on the hosts’ 45 yard line and Chochee Watson made his presence known.
Watson, a 5-10, 215 pound junior, had runs of 8 and 10 yards on his first two touches and scored two plays later from the 1 and Jaden Snyder’s extra point pushed WHS in front, 7-6, with 7:16 showing.
In the first half, Brandt completed 9-of-16 passes for 128 yards, using six different receivers.
WAGONER 21, BETHANY 14
B — Sam Brandt 50 run (pass fail), 3:40
W — Chocee Watson 1 run (Jaden Snyder kick), 1:12.
B — Ben Lawson 27 pass from Brandt (Brandt run), 10:49
W — Braden Drake 29 run (Snyder kick), 3:21
W — Drake 43 run (Snyder kick), 1:25
RUSHING - W, Braden Drake 14-115 2TD, Chochee Watson 8-41 TD, Drew Mills 2-16, Jaden Snyder 1-2, Nunu Clayton 1 -1, Sawyer Jones 3 -5, Brian Trimble 1 -8; B, Sam Brandt 22-109 TD; Nathan Jones 3-18, Ben Lawson 3-9, Taylor Heim 2-7, Team 1 -23.
PASSING – W, Sawyer Jones 3-9-1 43, B, Sam Brandt 17-33-2 TD,
RECEIVING – W, Chase Nanni 2-34, Brian Trimble 1-9. B, Jordan Flinton 5-86, James Lenhart 3-65, Ashton Taylor 2-44, Jaden Gilliland 1-21, Gray Adams 1-2.