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Bulldogs win Highway 20 Bowl

BULLDOGS WIN HIGHWAY 20 BOWL

Shae Garner had the ball in his hands when 5A No. 9 Skiatook needed it most, and the Bulldogs rode his performance out for a 13-10 victory at Collinsville in the perennial Highway 20 Bowl. Garner walked off Sallee Field on Friday with 47 yards and a touchdown on three catches, but made his impact at the end of the game, too, carrying the ball in the final moments. The Bulldogs turned the ball over twice, but made up for it by recovering two Collinsville fumbles and keeping the No. 6 Cardinals out of the end zone just before halftime with a Hunter Gnose interception. “Anytime you get a turnover, it’s big; we preach to our defense to swarm, tackle and play hard. They get after it and they caused some trouble,” Skiatook coach Vance Miller said. On fourth-and-15 with two minutes left, the Cardinals lined up on their 21-yard line in their most critical possession of the fourth quarter. Shaeffer Smith, with his uniform stained from his helmet to his socks, was back to protect his quarterback, Seth Boomer. The snap came, and went. Boomer missed the snap while calling for the 11th player to come onto the field. Collinsville lost five yards on a false start call and the Cardinals were forced to punt, giving Skiatook the ball and a chance to close out the game. The Bulldogs did it, handing the ball off to Garner twice before quarterback Brendon Babb took a knee in the victory formation. “I was glad to get in the victory formation, really glad,” Miller said. “We work on that and we were proud of our kids to get there. They kept moving the chains, made big stops and came out with the victory.” Collinsville’s freshman quarterback dueled with the Bulldogs’ Babb in a battle of lanky pass-throwers. Boomer ended the night 13-of-16 with 116 yards and an interception in his varsity home debut. “We’re coming along, we just made too many mistakes tonight, that’s a good team,” Boomer said. “It’s hard to beat a good football team when you make that many mistakes.” Short a returning starter in Blake Burd at running back, Collinsville struggled to lure Skiatook with the running game, despite Smith’s breakout game. Smith carried the ball 14 times for 122 yards and one touchdown, sharing snaps with Marcus Tillman. “We just couldn’t get anything consistently going,” Collinsville coach Kevin Jones said. “We hit things here and there but couldn’t get rhythm.” The Cardinals were sharp against the run, though, with Roc Robbins, Josh Arnold and Levi Draper descending from their perches at linebacker to stuff Skiatook on almost everything up the middle. “They did a good job of taking that away from us, they have two inside linebackers who are very good players, and they owned us (in the middle),” Miller said. “They took that away from us and we had to take the little things that they were giving us and be patient, and it worked out.” Skiatook inside linebacker Laben Fisher has handled kicking duties since he was in elementary school, Miller said. He converted a point-after-attempt, 25- and 34-yard field goals, and executed five punts for an average of 38 yards in the win. Collinsville fell to 1-2 overall one week before its district opener against Coweta. Skiatook stays undefeated through three games and adds Collinsville to its list of marquee victories after knocking off Oologah a week earlier.

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