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Bulldogs upend Oologah

BULLDOGS UPEND OOLOGAH

SKIATOOK — A 100-yard pass is a statistical impossibility in football, but the Skiatook Bulldogs came as close as possible to throwing one Friday night. Shae Garner’s 99-yard TD reception from Brendon Babb on a tipped pass was one of just three big passing plays as the Class 5A No. 9 Bulldogs surprised Oologah’s 4A No. 2 Mustangs 16-13 before about 3,000 spectators at Hap Dunlap Field. Garner also took a short pass from Babb, slithered through a sea of defenders and raced 47 yards in the fourth quarter to set up the deciding score, Babb’s 1-yard toss to Jaren Knight with 2:59 left. “He’s elusive and shifty,” Bulldogs coach Vance Miller said of Garner. “We always say you can’t touch him in a phone booth. He’s very fast.” Garner started as an inside receiver on last year’s state runner-up team, but he didn’t get many opportunities because the Bulldogs were always throwing deep to Stephen Upton. Click here! Now, Upton is out of the picture with an injured right knee and several others were lost to graduation, but Garner said the win over Oologah reminded everyone that the Bulldogs are still pretty good. “This was huge because everybody was doubting us,” he said. Following Skiatook’s go-ahead TD, Oologah had one more opportunity but turned the ball over on downs at its 38 and the Bulldogs ran out the clock. It was a frustrating night for coach Brandon Craig’s powerful Mustangs, who opened with a 30-24 win over 5A No. 6 Collinsville last week. Led by Casey Base’s 218-yard passing night, the 1-1 Mustangs dominated possession time and drove at will between the 20s. But they were stopped on one drive inches from the goal line in the second quarter and ended the half with an interception deep in Bulldogs territory. In the game’s key sequence, Skiatook (2-0) held the Mustangs on four downs from the 3-yard line and Babb uncorked his long pass to Garner on the first play after the Bulldogs took over inches from their own goal line. Almost nothing went the way the play was designed. Babb was under orders not to scramble, but he wound up drifting to his right across the back of the end zone before lofting the ball down the right sideline. Oologah’s cornerback and safety converged and leaped for the ball. One or both tipped it directly to Garner, who said he briefly worried whether he might drop it. “It went through my head, but as a receiver, catching the ball is second nature, and I executed it really well and I just took off,” he said. In the fourth quarter, Skiatook faced second-and-8 from its 47 when Babb threw to Garner in the left flat. A wave of defenders almost buried Garner for a loss, but he skittered through and set sail again, reaching the Oologah 4 before Jimmie McKinney brought him down. Two running plays netted 3 yards. On third down, Babb rolled right and then threw back to an open Knight in the left corner of the end zone.

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