It took a while for the Dewey Bulldoggers’ offense to click, but they found a way to overcome a 20-point deficit to defeat the Verdigris Cardinals 39-34 Friday night in District 3A-5 play.
Verdigris (1-8, 1-4) led 26-6 at halftime before Dewey rallied for five second half touchdowns.
Dewey (5-4, 3-2) was led by Jared Fink, who rushed for 64 yards, including the deciding 25-yard touchdown with 2:10 left in the game. The Bulldoggers’ special teams and defense came out firing in the second half and closed the game with two fumbles and two touchdowns.
“This win feels great for a coach. It shows the character of this football team,” Dewey head coach Chris Revard said. “Obviously we didn’t play the way we are supposed to play in the first half. We made a lot of mistakes in the first half and uncharacteristic mistakes. “Give Verdigris credit, they came out to play. The ball fell their way in the first half and it fell our way in the second half and our kids knew we had to win this game to get into the playoffs. Our guys came out in the second half and I told them to forget the first half and go out and play our football and that’s what happened.”
Verdigris’ first score came on their second possession with a 1-yard run by Austin Senephimmachack with 9:18 in the first quarter as they took a 6-0, with a failed PAT.
The Cardinals extended their lead 26-6 on the back of Senephimmachack, whom scored three times in the second quarter with runs of 26, 40 and 12 yards.
Dewey wasted no time erasing the 20-point deficit as they recovered the kickoff and scored a touchdown five plays later to make the score 26-20, after a 2-point conversion.
On Verdigris’ very next drive, Dewey’s Fink knocked the ball out on the Cardinals’ 16-yard line to tie the game up 26-26.
On Dewey’s next possession, quarterback Chase Carver found Trenton Keene open for a 56-yard touchdown pass to put Dewey up for the first time in the game 32-26 with 10:42 left in the game.
Verdigris was able to retake the lead on a 12-yard run by Dylan Hight and a 2-point conversion by quarterback Reece Phillips to place the Cardinals up 34-32 with 8:36 left.
Dewey was able to capitalize on a blocked punt to score their last score of the game with 2:10 left on a 25-yard touchdown run by Fink.
Dewey sealed the game by recovering a fumble by Hight on Verdigris’ 35-yard line.
“For three and half quarters we played great,” Verdigris head coach Tony Daniels said. “In the second half, we came out, gave up two touchdowns and let them get back in the game. You know the inexperience definitely showed itself tonight. I think with one more game left, I still want to get better as a team, but we’ve tried preaching to this team and telling them that it’s four quarters and not three and a half quarters.”
Senephimmachack led Verdigris with 175 rushing yards on 25 carries and four touchdowns.