Special to The Sun
Edmond Santa Fe’s defense spent Friday night chasing Southmoore’s Jaelon Walker all across the football field at Moore Schools Stadium.
That is, until the Wolves finally stopped him when it mattered most — on the goal line late in the fourth quarter.
After a four-play, goal-line stand, which included three stops of Walker, the Wolves and
quarterback Justice Hansen then put together a seven-play scoring drive and secured a 35-24 conquest over the SaberCats.
“It was huge,” Santa Fe head coach Lance Manning said. “Then at the end we pulled together to make a stop. We needed to seal the game and we pulled together to make a stop.”
Hansen, the future Oklahoma Sooner, showed fans and the SaberCats why he’s headed for the college game. He accounted for 321 yards of offense and was responsible for all five of the Wolves’ touchdowns, including four in the rushing category.
Hansen finished the game 10-of-22 for 179 yards passing and he rushed 16 times for 132 yards.
“He’s a great football player,” Manning said. “He’s a great runner and he’s a great thrower.”
The game’s scoring started early when Southmoore quarterback Conner Uselton hit Walker for a 66-yard touchdown pass on the second play from scrimmage.
But Santa Fe answered on its first drive as Hansen quickly went to work. Three plays after a 19-yard pass completion to Kaden Mendenhall, Hansen split the middle of the Southmoore defense with a 21-yard score to tie the game at 7-7.
The score remained tied until the 4:43 mark of the second quarter when Hansen again engineered a long scoring drive. He found Aaron Jones for 20 yards before putting on a few of his own moves to score on a 27-yard run.
This time, Southmoore had an answer. The SaberCats, with the help of a couple Santa Fe penalties, capped a 9-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run from Nick Scott just before the half.
The Wolves, 3-1, came out of halftime with a vengeance. Mike Coats returned the opening kick 31 yards to the Southmoore 46-yard-line, giving Santa Fe a shorter field. After four plays and a penalty, the Wolves were back at Southmoore’s 46 for a first-and-15 play.
Hansen dialed up a 46-yard pass play to senior Malik Earl, who finished with four catches for 63 yards.
Southmoore added a 22-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 21-17 with 5:34 left in the third quarter.
The SaberCats, on their next possession, took their only lead of the night. Southmoore ran Walker eight times in a 10-play drive and he finally scored from two yards out, giving his team a 24-21 advantage. Walker finished the game with 192 rushing yards on 32 carries.
Santa Fe roared right back, though, giving the ball twice to Ke’Marie Carter-Hatfield 27 yards. Two plays later, Hansen scored on a two-yard run. The Wolves led, 28-24.
The SaberCats, 2-2, put together a long drive, but Santa Fe’s defense mounted the goal-line stand at the 4:22 mark of the final quarter.
Santa Fe took over at its own four-yard-line and was in dire need of yardage to stave off Southmoore. That’s when Hansen turned in the best play of the night.
Facing a third-and-13 from his own three-yard-line, Hansen wrestled away from defenders and tossed a pass downfield while he was going to the turf. He hit a wide-open Malcolm Dade, who turned upfield for a 59-yard pass play that kept Santa Fe’s offense alive.
The Wolfpack will host Mustang Thursday for homecoming.