Special to The Sun
If there was any question about the height of Edmond Santa Fe’s expectations, those doubts were removed on Friday night.
Now the Wolves will see if they can meet those expectations.
Despite clobbering Putnam City North, 35-12, in a first-round Class 6A playoff game at Wantland Stadium, plenty of Wolves left the field with heads hanging. And head coach Lance Manning was anything but satisfied.
“I wasn’t pleased with our execution. We have a lot to work on,” said Manning, whose team will play host to defending state champion Tulsa Union in the state quarterfinals next week. “Fortunately, we have a whole week to work on it.”
Much of Manning’s ire came as a result of the first half, when the Wolves were able to outgain Putnam City North just 143-138 and rushed for a mere 6 yards. Fortunately, special teams were still able to help Santa Fe to a 21-6 lead, as senior Dale Jefferson set up two touchdowns with long kickoff returns and returned a punt 62 yards for a score.
“It’s a good thing that we see that as one-third of the game,” Manning said of special teams. “Because I told them that was the only reason we were ahead at halftime.”
Santa Fe’s rushing game picked up in the second half, as the Wolves finished with 143 yards on the ground. Quarterback Justice Hansen also was 16-of-25 for 157 yards passing to give Santa Fe exactly 300 total yards. Trevan Smith hauled in five catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
Putnam City North rushed for 170 yards and threw for 159 for 329 total.
Santa Fe’s first drive started on the Panther 39, thanks to Jefferson’s game-opening return. Hansen finished it with a 2-yard touchdown plunge and it was quickly 7-0.
A 31-yard scoring strike allowed Putnam North to get within 7-6, but Jefferson returned the ensuing kickoff to the Panther 32. It took the Wolves only one play, a 32-yard touchdown pass from Hansen to Smith, to make it 14-6.
Trailing 21-6, Putnam North took the first possession of the second half 10 plays for 80 yards, finished with a 35-yard scoring strike, to get within 21-12, after a failed 2-point conversion.
Santa Fe answered quickly once again, as Hansen broke loose for a 59-yard run to the 2, then finished it off with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Smith, making it 28-12.
The Wolves scored once more on a 2-yard run by Phillip Sumpter on their next drive. Putnam City North’s comeback attempt was then thwarted, as the Panthers turned the ball over on downs three times down the stretch.
Tulsa Union just eked out a 17-14 win against big underdog Westmoore on Friday night, but the Wolves know they’ll get everything they can handle in the state quarterfinals against the four-time defending state champions.
“We know they’ll have talented players at every position, and certainly Santa Fe will have to play a good football game,” Manning said. “But we’re happy to have them at home and be in this position.”