Washington coughed up four fumbles and threw an interception last Friday night but thanks to a defensive performance for the ages they eased by the Oklahoma Christian School Saints, 18-11, to advance to the State Class 2A Quarterfinals.
The No. 1 ranked and 12-0 Warriors will square off against the Idabel Warriors at 7 p.m. Friday night at McAlester.
This is the first year the quarterfinals are being played on a neutral field.
“The OSSAA did it to limit the amount of travel, especially on a holiday weekend,” head coach Brad Beller said.
Idabel is 9-3 and has a talented sophomore running back that already has division one offers. They operate out of a spread formation.
“They spread you out to run the football,” Beller said. “They have several really fast skill position players and are big and strong up front. They are really disciplined, too.”
Beller reports Idabel is about as multiple as you can get.
“They line up in a 4-2, a 4-3, a 3-4 or a 4-4 depending on the situation. They will line up in whatever they think will give them the best opportunity for success,” the coach said.
One of the Washington fumbles was on their own four yard line.
The defense held the Saints to a field goal.
Two other times the Warriors turned the ball over inside their own 20 and both times held OCS out of the end zone.
“Our defense kept us in the game,” he confirmed. “It wasn’t that our offense didn’t move the ball. It was just the turnovers.”
At one point in the second quarter the Warriors turned it over three times in a matter of six minutes.
“Our defense did a great job of holding them when they had great field position. I’m very proud of how they played, especially in such bad situations,” Beller said. “Usually that many turnovers this time of year spells defeat. We were fortunate to be able to come out clean.”
Beller said his offense played well in the second half.
“It was just little things here and there that kept us from blowing them out,” he said. “We had over 400 yards of offense and only 18 points. That’s just not us.”
Cole Scott rushed the rock 22 times for 189 yards and two touchdowns. On the game’s first play Mason Singletary took the ball to the house on a 67 yard cross-country gallop.
Kade Norman carried five times for 31 yards and Hudson Howard gained 28 yards on four carries.
“Major Cantrell also had a good night rushing the football,” Beller said. “It was just the turnovers. But an ugly win is better than an ugly loss. We just survived and advanced. I feel like we’re a better team for it.
“I can’t say enough about our defense,” he continued. “It was one of the more dominating defensive performances I’ve seen here at Washington.”
Jaxon Hendrix led the tackling chart with six stops. Keller Howard, Hudson Howard and Ben Vaughn all had five stops each.
The key to reaching the semifinals, Beller says, “First and foremost protecting the football and controlling the front line on offense. And on defense we’ve got to limit the big plays. That’s where they get their energy.”
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