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Washington Football

Defense bows neck in win

Warriors smash Meeker, 56-7


Outside of Meeker’s first drive, Washington’s defense played lights out in a 56-7 rout of the Bulldogs in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

“We definitely had a slow start on their first drive,” head coach Brad Beller said. “We were not physical and didn’t play with good technique or play with discipline.

“They capitalized on it,” Beller continued. “They had some good completions and had some good runs.

“We made very minimal adjustments,” the coach said. “We just had to get back to playing the way we have all year. We responded from the second possession on, flying around, getting turnovers and tackling for losses.”

When the dust had settled, the Warriors had eight tackles for losses.

“Naithen Spaulding had one of his best games of the year,” Beller said.

Spaulding had a team-high 11 tackles including one for a loss and registered a quarterback sack.

Keller Howard had 10 tackles including one for a loss. Ben Vaughn joined the party with a tackle for a loss among his eight stops.

Case Taylor matched Vaughn’s eight tackle night and recovered a fumble. Cole Beller registered seven tackles and picked off an errant Bulldog pass.

Also making interceptions in the contest were Tanner Olson, Max Wilson and Dawson Thomas.

“Keller Howard has been a force all year and this game turned into his game. And, our secondary did an outstanding job of getting timely turnovers. They made interceptions at very opportune times,” Beller said.

On the other side of the ball, the Warriors ground out 419 rushing yards led by Hudson Howard.

On just 10 carries Howard galloped to 204 yards and three touchdowns.

Howard scored on runs of 11, 66 and 55-yards.

Kade Norman, who Beller called “Mr. Reliable”, came in to spell Hudson and had 12 carries for 73 yards and three touchdowns.

Norman’s scoring runs were six, 14 and one-yards.

Senior quarterback Major Cantrell scored on a 55 yard scamper in the third quarter and finished with 80 yards rushing on four carries.

Cantrell also tossed a 44 yard scoring strike to Mason Singletary in the second period.

“We established the run early and that was the difference in the game,” Beller said. “It opened up our passing game.”

Cantrell was an efficient 9-15 for 173 yards and the one touchdown.

That strong, grind-it-out rushing attack was made available by center Kingston Stringer, guards Jordan Vanya and Tanner Winlock, tackles Easton Berglan and Baylor Haynes and tight ends Cooper Alexander and Nate Roberts.

“I’m proud of all of them,” Beller said. “But especially our two tight ends. They are big and strong and proved they can do more than run pass routes and catch balls. They really pitched in on the run game. They were physical blockers. They can dominate in blocking as well.”

Up next is round two with the Vian Wolverines.

Kickoff Friday night in Ada has been set for 7 p.m.

Vian is 8-4 but didn’t have their star player in a couple of those losses.

The Wolverines finished third in their district and have shown dramatic improvement since their season opening loss to Washington, winning their last two games on the road over Eufaula and Adair.

Their offense centers around their two playmakers in quarterback Masyn Wright and running back Draighton Fletcher.

Vian’s offensive forward wall is massive and has taken giant strides since that season opening contest, a 55-13 Washington victory.

“Their calling card is they are physical. They will strike you. Early in the season we saw them and Sulphur and they had good defenses and nothing has changed. Early in the year they were in a 3-4 but now they’ve changed to a four-man front.

“They move around a lot and play man coverage in the secondary 95 percent of the time,” the coach said.

The key for the Warriors is to contain their explosive plays on defense and continue to be efficient and balanced on offense. We have to control the front lines on both sides of the ball,” he concluded.


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