After back-to-back appearances in the second round of the state playoffs in 2017 and 2018 respectively, the Oklahoma Christian Schools Saints fell in the first round of the 2019 2A State Playoffs 44-14 to the Meeker Bulldogs at Meeker Stadium.
“We just weren’t ready, this team was awful good,” said OCS head coach Derek Turner. “One of our coaches said coming in ‘the teams you have to really fear are the 7-3 teams that only play a few guys’ because I think they only had 22 guys on the team and they play hard, that’s a good team.”
Coming into the game, the Bulldogs were on a five game winning streak. They carried that momentum into the the playoffs as they put up 25 points before OCS was able to answer with a score of their own.
Oklahoma Christian School went on a 16-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by a 4-yard Ethan Hodson touchdown run. Jaxon Canard was able to convert on the 2-point conversion with a run. But it would be the only positive for OCS in the first half.
They weren’t able to score again until a Collin Matteson took an 8-yard pass 46-yards for a score. It was the final score of the season for the Saints.
The Bulldogs were led in the first half by junior running-back Caden Wolford who recorded two touchdowns, a 45-yard run and a 9-yard run, and an extra point.
Special teams were a struggle for OCS on Friday as three times, the Saints had their punt blocked which all three led to Bulldogs scores. The first block led to a 45-yard touchdown drive capped off by a JJ Bloomer 3-yard score. The second block was returned for a score by Zach Cook and the third came in the third quarter as Brenden Alexander blocked the punt to give the Bulldogs at the OCS 11-yard line. That led to a Jacob Martin short touchdown run.
“It was how we were picking it up,” Turner said. “We’ve run that same type of kick for four or five years and have never had one blocked. And I think that [Meeker] probably tried to focus on how they were going to try to do it. That side of the line is where we got a lot of the new guys in.”
The Saints were able to force a fumble and recover on their own 4-yard line. However, OCS would not be able to capitalize and were forced to punt out of the back of their endzone, which resulted in a 35-yard punt return score by Dakota Gabbert to give Meeker a 31-8 lead heading into the half.
Meeker finished the game with a 49-yard touchdown pass from Jacob Martin to Dakota Gabbert.
Coming into the season, Turner was assured his offensive line would be a “good group” as he returned four offensive linemen but injuries hit the line causing nine different rotations during the season.
“Some years you just get the injury bug,” Turner said. “Its tough when you’re juggling all your different line men around. We lost two centers, we lost a tackle and those things happen, some years it just happens that way and you just kind of have to play through it. You just feel bad for those seniors.”
The seniors that were on the Saints roster their freshman year advanced to the postseason all four years and even won a district title their sophomore year.
“They are just really good kids,” Turner said through tears. “I get sad because it’s tough to see them go on. They’re like your kids.”
With the win, Meeker advances and will battle the winner of Metro Christian and Kiefer next Friday at 7:30 p.m.