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Defense the difference

DEFENSE THE DIFFERENCE

In a game of defense, defense, and more defense, opportunistic Skiatook finally broke through with a spectacular catch by DonTray Wilkerson. Wilkerson broke a scoreless tie in the third quarter with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brendon Babb to help lift No. 4 Skiatook to a 21-7 road victory over No. 8 Memorial on Thursday night in a District 5A-3 game at LaFortune Stadium. Wilkerson outleaped a Memorial defender for the ball near the back left side of the end zone for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. “DonTray Wilkerson did a great job right there. He’s a basketball player, as well, so it kind of came in handy, like going up for a rebound, pulling it in,” Skiatook coach Vance Miller said of the 6-foot-2 Wilkerson. That touchdown was one of the few offensive highlights in a game in which the defenses dominated. Miller said he couldn’t remember the last time he was involved in a scoreless first half. Not only did the teams not score in the first half, neither team could move the ball. The teams combined for only 87 yards in the first two quarters, as Skiatook outgained Memorial 59-28 and led in first downs 3-2. The teams looked like they were never going to score until a gamble by Memorial failed. Facing a fourth-and-8 at its own 23-yard line, Memorial tried a fake punt, with quarterback and punter Trevor Boone throwing an incomplete long pass out of an unbalanced line formation. So the Bulldogs only had to go 23 yards for their first touchdown. “That worked out good for us,” Miller said. Skiatook (7-0, 4-0) took advantage of another opportunity when it recovered a Memorial fumble late in the third quarter at the Memorial 28. The Bulldogs went up 14-0 on the last play of the quarter when Billy “the Billdozer” Beyen came in at quarterback to score on a 3-yard plunge. Memorial (5-2, 2-2) got back in the game when the Chargers recovered a Skiatook fumbled handoff at the Bulldogs’ 30. Boone converted a few plays later on a 9-yard touchdown run, and the Chargers trailed only 14-7 with 8:04 remaining in the game. The Chargers had three possessions to tie the game, but a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown by Caleb Paslay with 2:45 remaining sealed the game at 21-7. Skiatook held the potent Memorial offense to just 68 yards on 53 plays, and forced three interceptions and a fumble recovery. But the Memorial defense was stout, as well, limiting Skiatook to 124 yards on 54 plays and recovering two fumbles. Holding the Chargers to seven points was quite a feat considering Memorial had scored at least 30 points in four of its first six games, including 49 points last week in a 49-45 victory at Noble. “We knew we were going to have to play good defense, and our kids did,” Miller said. “We played good defense, and did enough to win this game on offense, and our kids just stuck together and fought to the end.”

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